Big Pharma has taken it on the chin recently in several trials across the country, with juries awarding millions in damages to individuals who’s health and lives were ruined by defective drugs rushed to market with “reckless indifference” to the health and safety of patients. Amid growing concerns over FDA oversight, and lack of transparency in the testing and studies for new drugs, two juries in the last 30 days in Philadelphia have awarded $2.5 million against Johnson & Johnson for claims associated with use of its long marketed Risperdal medication, while Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. was hit with $2.3 million in damages to a former teacher who developed bladder cancer after using the company’s diabetes drug, Actos.
The Takeda award amounted to $300,000 in compensatory damages for the plaintiff’s medical expenses, as well as an additional $2 million for pain and suffering related to his cancer diagnosis. This is the not the first case where Takeda has been accused of, and found liable by a jury, of endangering the health and welfare of potential patients and users of its drugs. On April 7, 2014, Takeda and Eli Lily where hit with a $9 billion jury verdict related to the same drug, Actos, for failure to disclose and warn of the drug’s potential to cause cancer. On appeal, that award was cut to $36.8 million; however, this recent award is the fifth jury award against Takeda related to Actos. Juries in California and Maryland have also awarded a combined $8.2 million against Takeda for its handling of the drugs.
Another Philadelphia jury ordered Risperdal drug manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, to pay $2.5 million to a 20-year old autistic man from Alabama who developed size 46 DD breasts as a young teenager due to his long time prescribed use the drug. This condition, called gynecomastia, was never warned about the manufacturer, who now faces thousands more lawsuits in Philadelphia, California, Missouri, and other locations across the US. Juries aren’t the only problem for J&J related to Risperdal however; in 2013, the company paid $2.2 billion to settle federal and state criminal and civil charges related to illegal marketing of the drug. Gynecomastia is the growth or enlargement of male breast tissue. The psychological and social injuries can be devastating — especially when gynecomastia affects adolescent males. Many doctors recommend surgery to reduce breast tissue. In mild or moderate cases, liposuction may be an effective option. In severe cases, however, a surgical procedure called a mastectomy may be necessary to remove breast tissue and excess skin.