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First Risperdal Injury Jury Trial Against Johnson & Johnson Results in $2.5M Verdict

Johnson & Johnson must pay the family of Austin Pledger $2.5 million for complications he sustained while taking Risperdal as a boy at age seven in 2002. Pledger, who was Autism, developed Gynecomastia. At one point, because of the abnormal breast growth, Austin’s breasts grew to a size 46 DD.

This Risperdal injury case is the first one to go to trial. J & J’s Janssen unit, however, is adamant that unlike what Pledger’s family and other plaintiffs are claiming, the medication’s Food and Drug Administration-approved label did properly warn about the possible risks. They maintain that Pledger was helped and not hurt by taking the medication. Risperdal is approved to treat certain mood and mental disorders, including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, as well as irritability linked to autism.

Aside from the abnormal breast growth, Gynecomastia may cause mental and emotional issues, uneven breast growth, and lactation. It can be especially traumatic for adolescent males. Someone with this type of abnormal breast growth may have to undergo breast reduction surgery, liposuction, chest reconstruction or a mastectomy. There have been at least 1,200 drug defect cases involving Risperdal.

The drug has also been linked to Tardive Dyskinesia, Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome, and Stroke. A number of fatalities linked to stroke that may have involved Risperdal have already been reported.

Many, however, have questioned whether J & J did, in fact, properly warn consumers of the potential side effects. In 2013, the drug maker and its subsidiaries consented to pay more than $2.2 billion to settle criminal and civil allegations. Part of the agreement involved Janssen pleading guilty to misbranding the drug, including marketing it for use by older patients suffering from dementia despite the fact that it was only approved for treating schizophrenia.

In the trial involving Pledger’s family and J & J, ex-FDA commissioner David Kessler got on the stand as a paid witness for the plaintiffs’ side. He said that the company knew about the risks but failed to disclose information showing to what degree young males could suffer from Gynecomastia.

Last week, the Supreme Court of South Carolina ordered J & J to pay $136 million. The ruling upholds a jury’s finding that Janssen improperly marketed Risperdal and hid its risks.

A trial court had earlier told J & J to pay $327 million. The state’s Supreme Court, however, reduced the penalty because of a provision in a law stating that no action may be brought in this type of case when three years have passed since the unlawful conduct was discovered. South Carolina filed its case in 2007. The state wanted civil penalties on claims over written material in Risperdal prescriptions since 1994, as well as allegedly false information in a letter sent by Janssen in 2003 to prescribing doctors in South Carolina.

In Massachusetts, contact our Boston Risperdal injury lawyers today.

South Carolina court orders J&J to pay $136 mln in Risperdal case, Reuters, February 26, 2015

Johnson & Johnson loses first Risperdal jury trial, Philly.com, February 26, 2015

More Blog Posts:
Johnson & Johnson Settles Four Transvaginal Mesh Cases, Massachusetts Drug Injury Lawyers Blog, February 6, 2015

Snow, Ice on Roofs Lead to Massachusetts Worker Injuries, Deaths, Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog, February 27, 2015

Johnson & Johnson Ordered to Pay $2.5M Risperdal Injury Verdict Over Abnormal Male Breast Growth, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, February 24, 2015

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