Risperdal lawsuits abound for Johnson and Johnson

Have you been negatively affected after taking Risperdal as a child or as an adult? Have you suffered humiliation due to enlarging breasts, and never received warning that such a side effect could occur from taking Risperdal? You are not alone, and you may be entitled to financial compensation.

Lawsuits filed by patients who took the antipsychotic medication, Risperdal, now number in the thousands, worth potentially billions of dollars in settlements to be paid by drug manufacturer, Johnson and Johnson. One case involving Risperdal netted a plaintiff a $70 million settlement last summer in Philadelphia.

Plaintiffs claim that the drug caused a rare condition called Gynecomastia, which results in breast enlargement in males, causing humiliation and mental anguish for those affected. In some cases, the enlargement is so severe that those affected may actually need breast reduction surgery in order to correct the condition. Others allege that they were prescribed the medication as juveniles despite the drug not being approved by the Food and Drug Administration for anybody under the age of 18.

In the case of the Philadelphia settlement mentioned above, the client was prescribed Risperdal from the age of 5 to treat a psychiatric disorder, and was never given any warnings about the drug potentially causing breast enlargement.

The jury ruled in the plaintiff’s favor, finding that Johnson and Johnson failed to warn the client about the risk, and that they were responsible for the emotional damages that resulted. This finding is the largest personal settlement to a single plaintiff related to Risperdal, with the next highest finding being $2.5 million.

Illicit practices put on notice by Eric Holder

Former United States Attorney General, Eric Holder, specifically accused Johnson and Johnson of putting people in jeopardy while trying to make higher profits, and that they utilized illegal marketing tactics in order to accomplish this. He alleged the company specifically targeted the elderly and children demographics.

The investigation that followed found Johnson and Johnson had been promoting Risperdal to children as early as 1994, even though the drug would not receive FDA approval for children until 2006. Even worse, a sales manager in Pennsylvania would claim that the company had started a “back to school” campaign specifically designed to market Risperdal to kids, including lollipops and small toys in promotional packages.

As if the deception and immorality wasn’t egregious enough, Johnson and Johnson was accused of paying doctors to speak about the drug positively, and allegedly offered incentives to prescribe the drug to children. The company allegedly performed very similar actions with the elderly population, including offering kickbacks to the largest nursing home pharmacy in the country for prescribing large amounts of Risperdal.

Johnson and Johnson agreed to pay more than $2.2 billion ($485 million in criminal fines and forfeiture, as well as $1.72 billion in settlements with federal and state governments) as a result of the decade-long investigation in 2013. It remains one of the largest health-related fraud settlements in the history of the country.

The patient takes precedence, not the profit

In the case of Risperdal, the efficacy or inefficacy of the drug, at this point, has been buried underneath the stories of scandal, deceit and immoral behavior condoned and performed by its manufacturing, billion-dollar company. No drug should be marketed to children before it is deemed safe, and no company should incentivize its prescription merely for profitable gain.

The lawsuits that have been settled and the thousands of cases that remain to be heard all paint a common theme: Risperdal can cause serious, life-changing side effects, and Johnson and Johnson was never concerned about warning its clients of those risks.

If you or anybody you love has taken Risperdal as a child, teenager, adult or senior citizen and experienced health complications or mental anguish as a result, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation. An experienced legal professional at Altman & Altman LLP is standing by to assist you with you case.

Call us for a free consultation today at 617-492-3000 or toll-free at 800-481-6199. We are available 24/7.

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