Risperdal Injury Lawsuits
Risperdal is an anti-psychotic prescription medication that is prescribed to treat patients who suffer from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and autism. Risperdal is manufactured and marketed by Johnson & Johnson, along with subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals.
The drastic side effects of Risperdal have caused many patients – from adolescent boys to elderly men – to experience the debilitating pain, suffering and trauma associated with Gynecomastia – a serious medical condition which causes male breast growth. Boys as young as four have reportedly undergone mastectomies to remove excess breast tissue caused by Gynecomastia from taking Risperdal. On top of the physical injuries these patients have experienced, Gynecomastia has also caused mental and social hardships in their everyday lives.
Sadly, elderly dementia patients living in nursing homes are among the more common recipients of Risperdal prescriptions, as many physicians see the drug as a way to control behavior disturbances. As a result, Risperdal has sometimes resulted in even more serious health risks, including strokes and death in extreme cases.
One of the Largest Settlements in U.S. History
When the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a prescription drug to the market, that approval is usually based on a specific illness or other sort of medical condition that the drug is designed to treat. In the case of Risperdal, the FDA approved it as an anti-psychotic, primarily for people suffering from schizophrenia. However, many drug companies understand that they stand to make more profit if their drugs are prescribed for a variety of illnesses and conditions, rather than just one. This practice, which is illegal and can carry significant criminal penalties, is called “misbranding.”
In 2013, Risperdal manufacturers Johnson & Johnson, along with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, pled guilty to allegations of misbranding Risperdal to elderly dementia patients and non-psychotic children with severe behavior problems. Branding to both groups was not approved by the Food and Drug Administration at the time.
Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay $400 million dollars in criminal fines and forfeitures, $149 million in allegations of offering medical professionals kickbacks in exchange for prescribing the drug, and $1.2 billion in civil liability claims under the False Claims Act. All together, J&J and Janssen Pharmaceuticals paid $2.2 billion dollars resulting in one of the largest health care settlements in US history.
Discoveries During Misbranding Lawsuit Trial
During the trial, testimony from a biochemist employed by Janssen pharmaceuticals revealed that the company hid results of a study that illustrated the severe hormonal side effects linked to taking Risperdal. The study was conducted in 2003 and three of the publishing authors were employed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals. The study declared that there was no link between long term Risperdal use and increased Prolactin levels.
The two other authors of the study were not employed by the manufacturer and asked for a reanalysis of the study. The manuscript of the study was presented in court during the 2013 trial and included two tables that showed a link between Risperdal use and an increase in Prolactin levels (the hormone believed to lead to Gynecomastia). It was determined that these data tables were not a part of the published study and were never presented to the FDA.
In response to the manufacturer’s misconduct, attorney general Eric Holder stated, “Put simply, this alleged conduct is shameful and it is unacceptable. It displayed a reckless indifference to the safety of the American people. And it constituted a clear abuse of the public trust, showing a blatant disregard for systems and laws designed to protect public health.”
$70 million Risperdal Injury Verdict
On July 1, 2016 a jury ordered J&J to pay $70 million dollars to teenager Adrew Yount. Yount began taking Risperdal when he was six years old and suffered from abnormal breast growth as a result of taking it. The jury determined that J&J failed to properly warn users that Risperdal usage could lead to Gynecomastia. In addition, the jury ruled that J&J intentionally “falsified, destroyed, or concealed records” that showed a link between Risperdal use and Gynecomastia.
Some of the damages in that case were attributed to the injuries that Yount had suffered, along with the physical and psychological trauma that he experienced as a result. However, a large percentage of the damages were classified as punitive damages, which some states allow juries to assign to a defendant if they believe the conduct was especially egregious. Not all states allow punitive damages, but they often increase the financial responsibility of defendants in serious personal injury cases several times over.
Who Can File a Risperdal Lawsuit?
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Gynecomastia – or any other injury or illness – as a direct result of taking Risperdal, then you may be entitled to recover financial compensation under the law. Consumers who are injured by dangerous drugs have a right to be compensated for the injuries and other losses they have suffered. Furthermore, consulting with an attorney about a potential case is often in injured victims’ best financial interests.
Our award-winning attorneys have represented injured consumers for more than 20 years. Currently, our attorneys have been investigating injury claims involving the side effects of Risperdal. If you or a loved one has developed abnormal breast tissue growth, or other injuries as a result of taking Risperdal , it maybe in your best interest to consult with a personal injury attorney. Use the contact form on this page to have your case reviewed free of charge. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning there are no up-front costs and all attorney fees are paid at the successful conclusion of your case.