A Philadelphia jury has sided with a Tennessee boy who blamed the development of female breasts, a condition called gynecomastia, on Risperdal. The trial began on June 20th and ended with a $70 million verdict against Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of corporate giant Johnson & Johnson.
“It’s about time they [Janssen] put an end to their games. In my view, it’s outrageous that they continue to defend these cases,” said Stephen Sheller, attorney involved in the matter.
In this case, the boy began taking Risperdal in 2003 for psychiatric problems and began showing signs of female breast development in 2004. At that time the drug had only been approved as a treatment for schizophrenia in adults and the warning label indicated gynecomastia as a rare side effect, occurring in less than one in 1,000 patients. In 2005, the condition was noted in the boys medical report along with weight gain.
The claim also alleged that Janssen attempted to obscure evidence that Risperdal could cause gynecomastia. Lawyers for the boy argued that scientists knew the drug caused spikes in prolactin, a hormone that can cause the condition, but failed to properly warn consumers and the medical community of these findings.
There are currently over 1,700 Risperdal cases pending in Philadelphia.
Janssen says the verdict is “excessive” and plans to appeal.
Johnson & Johnson is currently facing huge verdicts and lawsuits of their own, with a most recent order to pay $55 million to a South Dakota women who believed Talcum Powder caused her ovarian cancer. They currently face over 1,200 pending lawsuits over similar claims.