A jury says that Johnson & Johnson must pay the family of an autistic boy $2.5 million for failing to warn that its antipsychotic medication, Risperdal, could cause abnormal breast development in males. The plaintiffs claim that Austin Pledger, then 7, took the drug in 2002 and developed size 46 DD breasts. Gynecomastia is the medical term for this condition.
Risperdal’s generic name is risperidone. While there have been numerous Risperdal lawsuits settled, this is the first one involving gynecomastia that accuses J & J of hiding the risks to go to trial. Among those that gave testimony was former Food and Drug Administration commissioner David Kessler, who was a paid expert witness for the family of Pledger. He said that J & J knew about the risks but did not disclose the data that demonstrated to what extent young males could experience abnormal breast growth.
Despite the verdict, J & J’s Janssen unit, which marketed Risperdal, maintains that the drug’s FDA-approved label did in fact properly warn of possibly side effects. They also maintain that Pledger was not hurt by taking the drug but instead his quality of life improved “significantly” while on the medication.
Already, some 1,200 drug defect lawsuits involving Risperdal have been filed in U.S. courts. In 2013, J & J and its subsidiaries agreed to pay over $2.2 billion to resolve civil and criminal liability over allegations involving Risperdal and other drugs. As part of the deal, Janssen pleaded guilty to misbranding Risperdal, promoting it for use by elderly dementia patients even though during most of that time it was approved only for treating schizophrenia.
Gynecomastia can be traumatic for males of any age, especially juveniles, and it may lead to psychological issues. Sometimes, the condition may develop in just one breast or create uneven growth between a pair. Lactation may happen. Liposuction, breast reduction, a mastectomy, or chest reconstruction may be required.
Risperdal has also been linked to a higher risk of diabetes, as well as to Tardive Dyskinesia, Stroke, and Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome. At least 37 reports of stroke-like events or strokes related to Risperdal have been reported, including 16 fatalities.
You want to speak with a Boston Risperdal lawyer to explore your legal options.
J&J’s Janssen hit with $2.5 mln verdict in Risperdal suit, Reuters, February 24, 2014
Gynecomastia, Mayo Clinic
More Blog Posts:
Hundreds of Risperdal Lawsuits Blame Drug For Causing Gynecomastia in Males, Massachusetts Drug Injury Lawyers Blog, November 19, 2014
Medical Malpractice?: Study Says Nearly 1 in 5 Hysterectomies Are Unnecessary, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, February 20, 2015
Undocumented Worker Entitled to Workers’ Compensation, Massachusetts Workers Compensation Lawyer Blog, February 20, 2015