Janssen has lost yet another Risperdal trial. On July 1, 2016, a jury awarded the plaintiff, a young man who asserted he grew breasts after taking the drug, a $70 million verdict. Janssen still faces 1,700 more cases pending against the company for their failure to provide proper warnings to consumers and doctors regarding the risks of gynecomastia related to Risperdal use.
Gynecomastia is a disorder that causes young men to develop female breasts. The effects of gynecomastia are permanent and often require double mastectomies to remove the breasts. Young men who develop this disorder endure psychological damage as a result of the public humiliation and embarrassment they face for their disfigurement in their youth. These young men often grow up insecure about their bodies, which can result in a lack of confidence in social environments.
Even while being made aware of the potential risks associated with the drug, Janssen continued to market Risperdal toward children and teenagers who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and autism. In addition to marketing the drug for its prescribed uses, Janssen came under fire for illegally marketing the drug for sometimes “off-label” purposes without disclosing the risks associated with Risperdal’s use. There is also evidence that Janssen gave doctors kickbacks for prescribing Risperdal to their patients.
Johnson & Johnson, the parent company of Janssen Pharmaceuticals, agreed to a $2.2 billion settlement with the U.S. Justice Department in 2013 after the company was charged with unlawfully marketing the drug Risperdal. Thirty-eight states also filed lawsuits against the company for fraudulently marketing their products to consumers. Many have settled with compensation ranging from $7.75 million in Arkansas to $181 million in Texas. The greatest concern is that the pharmaceutical company had knowledge of the risks associated with the drug, Risperdal, but attempted to hide the information from doctors and consumers.
Evidence also suggested that Johnson & Johnson manipulated or misrepresented data to indicate that the chances of developing gynecomastia is only 0.8%, while other studies released since 2006 indicate the true risk is significantly higher. Moreover, one study found that up to 70% of young men who have developed gynecomastia were prescribed Risperdal or a similar off-brand of the drug. The Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology cautioned doctors that Risperdal substantially increases prolactin levels when the drug is consumed at the commonly prescribed dosage. The increase in prolactin levels is directly associated with developing gynecomastia. The Journal recommended doctors use extreme caution when prescribing the drug.
Since 2012, there have been multiple successful plaintiffs’ verdicts involving Risperdal. One case, decided in early 2015, awarded a young man $2.5 million after he developed breasts as a result of taking Risperdal as a child. Very recently, in July of 2016, a jury awarded a young man $70 million after developing breasts due to Risperdal use. Nonetheless, Johnson & Johnson and Janssen still downplay and disregard the risks associated with Risperdal while continuing to market the drug as a safe antipsychotic drug.
If you or a loved one has been adversely affected by Risperdal, you may have a claim. Contact us at Keane Law LLC for a free consultation.