Earlier this month, a jury in Pennsylvania delivered the largest verdict yet against the maker of Risperdal, an antipsychotic medication. A jury awarded a family $70 million as compensation for devastating drug side effects suffered by their son. According to media reports, this is the fifth such lawsuit in Philadelphia, but by far the largest verdict, against Janssen, the manufacturer of Risperdal.
The plaintiff in the lawsuit, a boy who lived in Tennessee, grew large breasts as a result of taking the drug. The condition he suffered from is called gynecomastia, which is a known possible side effect of Risperdal. In marketing the drug and in Janssen’s defense in court, the manufacturer downplayed this side effect – but as this family can tell you, it is an incredibly difficult ordeal for those who develop it.
Risperdal is used in some patients to treat psychiatric disorders. In 2002, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved it for use for those who suffered from schizophrenia. In 2003, the FDA approved Risperdal for treatment of manic episodes of bipolar disorder. Since those are limited uses confined to small populations, the company began seeking more ways to market the drug.
In fact, the U.S. Justice Department imposed a fine of $1.67 billion on Janssen, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, for marketing the drug to treat dementia in the elderly, when the drug had not been approved for such use. The Food & Drug Administration had declined to approve it for use in seniors, noting that the drug had become associated with the possibility of stroke in the elderly. The drug now has a black box warning, which is the strongest warning the FDA uses, that indicates Risperdal may kill elderly patients.
Janssen also marketed Risperdal to physicians to be used on children with autism and adults with dementia in an effort to sell more of it. Media reports indicate Johnson & Johnson is facing about 12,000 claims from those who have taken Risperdal.
If you or someone you love have suffered side effects from Risperdal, please contact our law firm immediately. We may be able to help you seek compensation for having taken this dangerous drug and suffered from it. Contact English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley at (270) 781-6500 for a free consultation.