Johnson & Johnson has faced several lawsuits over the past year alleging that Johnson & Johnson knew there was a link between their antipsychotic drug, Risperdal, and abnormal breast growth. Risperdal is a very powerful antipsychotic drug that Johnson & Johnson peddled to pediatric doctors for use by children even though the drug lacked certain approvals from federal regulators. Thus far, Johnson & Johnson has been hit with four separate jury trials all alleging that Johnson & Johnson not only knew that children prescribed Risperdal could develop a condition known as gynecomastia, but also that Johnson & Johnson failed to properly warn and/or disclose the risks of abnormal breast growth in adolescent boys prescribed Risperdal.
The Previous Three Jury Trials
In February 2015 the first Risperdal case was taken to a trial by jury. The jury returned a $2.5 million verdict in favor of the plaintiffs determining that Risperdal did in fact cause the plaintiffs injuries and that Johnson & Johnson failed to provide proper warnings. In the second case, the jury was less convinced as to the causal link between the drug and the plaintiff’s adverse condition. While the jury did agree that Johnson & Johnson failed to provide adequate warnings, the jury was not convinced that Risperdal caused the plaintiffs to develop abnormal breast growth. As such, the second jury awarded no damages against Johnson & Johnson. The third case began October 15, 2015 and the trial is still ongoing. Lead counsel for the young man who developed female breasts after taking Risperdal as a child stated recently that “Risperdal [is] a powerful antipsychotic drug which was promoted and marketed even though it wasn’t indicated for children.”
The Fourth Jury Trial
The Fourth, and most recent, lawsuit alleged the same claims as its predecessors; failure to warn doctors and patients of the risk of gynecomastia in boys. At the heart of the fourth lawsuit was Nicholas Murray, a young man who began taking Risperdal in March of 2003. Murray continued to take Risperdal for five years, even after Johnson & Johnson made a labeling change in 2006. When Murray was first prescribed Risperdal, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had only approved Risperdal to treat schizophrenia in adults. Despite a lack of approval by the FDA, Johnson & Johnson illegally marketed and promoted Risperdal for use in children from the 1990s through 2005. In fact, Johnson & Johnson’s marketing campaign was so egregious that in 2013 Johnson & Johnson settled with the United States Department of Justice to the tune of $2.2 billion amidst allegations related to its 1990-2000 illegal marketing campaign. In 2006, however, the FDA expanded Risperdal’s approval to also treat irritability in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. As such, Johnson & Johnson changed its labeling of Risperdal to comply. The fact that Murray continued to take Risperdal in the face of Johnson & Johnson’s labeling change made Murray’s failure to warn claim much harder to prove than his successful predecessors. However, despite this impediment, the jury awarded Murray $1.75 million in damages relating to his disfigurement and mental anguish.
If you or a loved one has taken Risperdal you should have your claim evaluated by a legal professional as soon as possible. Complex litigation against large pharmaceutical companies demands specialized legal experience. If you or a loved one believe you have been harmed by Risperdal or any other drug or medical device, contact the firm of Hollis Wright for more information. All cases are handled under a contingency fee, which means there are no fees or expenses unless we obtain a recovery for you.