Lawsuits over Antipsychotic Drug Risperdal Plague Johnson & Johnson
The antipsychotic drug Risperdal has been responsible for a large increase in mass tort litigation recently seen in state and federal courts. In particular, in the Philadelphia Complex Litigation Center, where many of the Risperdal state lawsuits are housed, Risperdal lawsuits have accounted for more than a third of all of the mass tort lawsuits in that particular location.
The antipsychotic drug Risperdal is used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and the symptoms of irritability related to autism spectrum disorder. It is also used in an off-label fashion to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Tourette’s syndrome and more.
The drug is manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. It was released onto the market in 1994. Back at the time of its release, Johnson & Johnson was accused of engaging in illegal marketing tactics surrounding the antipsychotic drug Risperdal.
Following these illegal marketing activities, the Department of Justice became involved, and the company was forced to pay more than $2 billion to state and government entities as a result of penalties that were assessed stemming from lawsuits, civil and criminal complaints. The drug was allegedly marketed to patients with dementia when it had only been approved to treat schizophrenia at the time.
However, the biggest current controversy surrounding the antipsychotic drug Risperdal are claims that the medication causes gynecomastia, or male breast development, in boys and men. For this reason alone, there are at least 13,000 Risperdal lawsuits pending against Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Johnson & Johnson in product liability claims.
The plaintiffs in these lawsuits state that Johnson & Johnson knew the product could lead to the development of gynecomastia, but chose to conceal the information from patients, physicians and the public.
An expert witness called to testify in Risperdal cases, David Kessler, former FDA Commissioner and pediatrician, has had key input into the litigation. Kessler testified in 2015 during a Philadelphia trial that as early as 2001, Johnson & Johnson knew that Risperdal could cause gynecomastia to develop in boys. This was a full five years before a warning about Risperdal appeared on the product label.
Some of the lawsuits involving the antipsychotic drug Risperdal went to court in February 2015 as part of a set of bellwether trials in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. In one of those initial cases, $2.5 million in damages was awarded to a 20-year-old male plaintiff who developed gynecomastia after he started using the drug at the age of eight years old.
Later that year, a different jury within the same court awarded $1.75 million to a man who had been taking the antipsychotic drug Risperdal since the age of five and had subsequently developed breasts.
The largest award in the litigation over Risperdal gynecomastia claims was reached in July 2016, when a teenager from Tennessee was awarded $70 million in damages when the jury concluded that company officials from Johnson & Johnson failed to warn the young man that Risperdal could cause him to develop breasts.
More than 2,000 cases are currently pending in the Philadelphia Complex Litigation Center, and more than 300 are pending in Los Angeles Superior Court, the second largest location of mass tort trials in state court. The other thousands of trials are scattered across the country in state and federal courts.
To find out if you have a case against the makers of Risperdal, contact the attorneys at McDonald Worley today for a FREE case evaluation. Complete the form on this page and an experienced Risperdal lawyer will contact you.