Johnson & Johnson has once again found themselves in hot legal water, this time because of negative side effects associated with the drug Risperdal. On July 1st, 2016, Johnson & Johnson was hit with a $70 million verdict in a Philadelphia court over a claim that a Tennessee teenage boy developed breasts after using the antipsychotic drug, Risperdal. This is not the first time Risperdal has been in the news because of this very problem, and it certainly won’t be the last. Johnson & Johnson and Janssen – a subsidiary pharma company of J&J – are currently facing more than 12,000 Risperdal lawsuits throughout the country.
According to this most recent lawsuit, it was discovered that J&J officials failed to properly warn the young teenager and his family that one of the known side effects of Risperdal is the development of female-size breasts. Largely based on this fact alone, the boy was awarded damages for the emotional distress he endured. It should be noted that the $70 million verdict is roughly 30 times larger than any other Risperdal lawsuit to date.
Risperdal Lawsuits and Concerns
Risperdal – which is sold by Janssen – was approved by the FDA only for treating schizophrenia in adult patients. The drug label warns that gynecomastia is a rare side effect that occurs in fewer than one in 1,000 patients. However, it has been discovered that scientists at Janssen were aware that Risperdal may cause spikes in a hormone known as prolactin, which could in turn result in development of gynecomastia – or male breast tissue.
All the current Risperdal claims are quite similar: the male plaintiffs say they developed breasts after using the antipsychotic drug when they were teenagers or young boys. While it was common knowledge among J&J and Janssen representatives that Risperdal may cause gynecomastia, this information was not made public, nor was the FDA informed. A warning was added to Risperdal’s label in 2006, but this was too late.
The current lawsuits are not the first time J&J has been in trouble because of Risperdal. In 2013, the pharma giant was forced to pay $2.2 billion in order to settle off-label marketing allegations made by the Justice Department and a handful of U.S. states due to claims that J&J wrongfully marketed the drug for use in children and teens, even though it was not approved by the FDA for these specific uses. Over the last several years J&J and Janssen have settled similar marketing claims with approximately 36 states over Risperdal, totaling more than $180 million.
Should I File a Lawsuit?
Again, Risperdal is only approved for use in adults and has been linked to numerous serious side effects – namely the development of male breasts – in young boys in recent years. If you or a loved one was taking Risperdal and has since grown female-size breasts, you may be able to file a claim against the drug’s manufacturer. To learn more about filing a Risperdal claim in Oklahoma, please contact Atkins & Markoff today. Our dangerous drug attorneys have been following these cases closely and will be able to guide you through the process. To learn more about Risperdal and its dangerous side effects, please click here or contact Atkins & Markoff today.