September 12, 2012 – This week, healthcare behemoth Johnson & Johnson settled a lawsuit on the opening day of a trial over claims that its widely-prescribed antipsychotic drug Risperdal (generic: risperidone) caused a male plaintiff to develop gynecomastia, a condition characterized by the abnormal development of large mammary glands in males which leads to severe breast enlargement. The landmark case is the first of at least 130 legal claims that Risperdal caused boys to grow breasts. In addition to gynecomastia, Risperdal has also recently been linked to pituitary tumors, tardive dyskinesia, neuroleptic malignant syndrome, heart attacks, strokes, and other serious side effects.
Risperdal Lawsuit Update 11/4/13 – Healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has agreed to resolve criminal and civil investigations into the marketing of the antipsychotic drug Risperdal (risperidone) and other widely-prescribed drugs by paying over $2.2 billion, one of the largest penalties ever levied against a company for healthcare fraud. According to the agreement, J&J’s Janssen division will plead guilty to misbranding Risperdal for unapproved uses, as well as for paying kickbacks to physicians and to Omnicare Inc., the largest pharmacy for nursing homes. Click here to learn more.
Free Risperdal Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has been injured by Risperdal, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit against the manufacturer of Risperdal and we can help.
What’s the problem?
What were lawyers for Johnson & Johnson thinking this week? Were they worried what 21-year-old plaintiff Aaron Banks would say when he took the stand to testify that the company’s best-selling antipsychotic drug Risperdal caused him to grow male breasts? Just as the trial was set to get underway in a Pennsylvania state court, J&J agreed to settle the case for an undisclosed amount, the first of a massive number of similar claims alleging that the medication caused gynecomastia in adolescent boys and young men.
According to allegations raised in the complaint, Banks suffered severe psychological side effects after developing gynecomastia while taking Risperdal between 1999 and 2004, from the ages of nine to 14. At the time, Risperdal had received no approval from the FDA to be prescribed to pediatric patients. Banks was later forced to have his breasts removed surgically. The details of the settlement have not been made public at this time.
Research has shown that Risperdal has the potential to stimulate the production of prolactin, a hormone released by the pituitary gland that stimulates breast development. The original Risperdal warning label downplayed the risk of serious side effects resulting from increased prolactin levels, and failed to indicate that a test should be taken prior to initiating a regimen of the drug. Studies have shown that if prolactin levels go up, the patient has an increased risk of developing adverse health complications. Minors under the age of 18 have been found to be much more prone to these side effects.
By settling this first Risperdal gynecomastia lawsuit, Johnson & Johnson avoided having CEO Alex Gorsky called to the stand. The prosecution sought Gorsky’s testimony because from October 1998 to October 2001, he was the vice president of marketing at the company’s Janssen subsidiary that manufactured and marketed Risperdal. Moreover, from October 2001 to early 2003, Gorsky served as Janssen’s president, during which time he was chiefly responsible for selling Risperdal.
In addition to being named in Banks’ lawsuit, the U.S. Department of Justice cited his responsibilities in an effort earlier this year to depose him in connection with a controversial kickback case involving the Omnicare nursing home pharmacy. However, Gorsky may again escape having to testify if J&J resolves a number of civil and criminal probes into the marketing of Risperdal, and pay out as much as $2.2 billion.
In August 2012, J&J agreed to pay out $181 million to resolve claims in 36 states that it promoted Risperdal and Invega for so-called ‘off-label’ purposes, for which the drugs were neither tested nor approved by the FDA. The deal included extremely specific provisions such as agreeing not to misuse continuing medical education programs for marketing, or awarding grants to doctors based on their prescribing habits. Another provision included in the deal restricts the ability of drug manufacturers to use sales and marketing personnel to distribute peer-reviewed reprints of journal articles that contain off-label information.
Do I Have a Risperdal Lawsuit?
The Product Liability & Defective Drug Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Risperdal lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new Risperdal injury cases in all 50 states.
Free Risperdal Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has been injured by Risperdal, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a Risperdal injury suit and we can help.