$70 million Verdict against Janssen Pharma in Risperdal Breast-Growth Case

risperdal-infographicA jury in Philadelphia ruled on July 8 that the antipsychotic drug Risperdal caused a Tennessee boy to grow breasts and imposed a $70 million verdict on its manufacturer, Janssen Pharmaceuticals.

Lawyers for the boy argued that scientists for the company were well aware of the risks and sought to downplay them. The company disputed that allegation during the Common Pleas Court trial and said that physicians were fully informed of potential side effects.

It was the fifth Risperdal lawsuit tried in Philadelphia, and by far the largest verdict so far. Earlier verdicts ranged from $500,000 to $2.2 million. the jury also found that Janssen “intentionally falsified, destroyed or concealed records.” That finding is necesdsary for plaintiffs to recover more than the $750,000 damages cap that Tennessee law imposes on noneconomic damages.

The products liability action, Case C.P. Philadelphia No. 130402094, was heard before Judge Paula Patrick.

Gynecomastia

Plaintiffs Counsel was Jason Itkin, Arnold & Itkin in Houston. Defense Counsel was David Abernethy, Drinker Biddle & Reath in Philadelphia. A spokeswoman for Janssen said the verdict went against the evidence, and the company will seek an appeal.

Lawyers for the plaintiff demonstrated that Janssen, a subsidiary of pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, attempted to downplay the risks of the drug causing gynecomastia, a condition in which boys develop female breast tissue. While the drug was initially approved for a small market, those suffering from bipolar and schizophrenia related disorders, Janssen reportedly worked to expand doctors’ recommendations of the drug to include treatments for dementia, behavioral problems, and autism. At the time the plaintiff began taking the drug the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had only approved it for adult use.

Follow our continuing coverage:

Plaintiffs 3-for-4 in Philadelphia Risperdal trials, confident punitive damages will be reintroduced

Kentucky AG Settles Risperdal and OxyContin False Marketing Cases for $39.5 Million

Larry Bodine

Attorney Larry Bodine is Editor of Mass Tort Nexus, and the Editor of The National Trial Lawyers. He is the former Editor in Chief of Lawyers.com and the American Bar Association Journal. He is a cum laude graduate of both Seton Hall University Law School and Amherst College.

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