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Judge Rules Against Punitive Damages in Risperdal Gynecomastia Lawsuits

Janssen Pharmaceuticals recently scored a victory in Risperdal Lawsuits currently underway in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

Janssen Pharmaceuticals recently scored a victory in Risperdal Lawsuits currently underway in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. The judge overseeing the litigation has ruled that punitive damages cannot be awarded. Several hundred lawsuits currently sit before the judge alleging that former Risperdal users developed gynecomastia, or the abnormal development of male breast tissue, after using the drug.

Free Risperdal Lawsuit Evaluation: If you are a former Risperdal user who was diagnosed with gynecomastia, 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?

About 500 Risperdal lawsuits are currently pending before Judge Arnold New in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. All of the complaints are affected by the ruling, in which Judge New determined that New Jersey law regarding punitive damages would apply. That law states that punitive damages may not be awarded in lawsuits associated with medications that were subject to pre-market approval by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

Although the Risperdal Lawsuits are being heard in Pennsylvania, Janssen has 2 facilities in New Jersey, where marketing for the drug took place. As such, the defendants argued that New Jersey laws regarding punitive damages should be applicable. However, the judge’s ruling is not a statement on the merits of the lawsuits.

Risperdal Settlements

To date, Janssen has settled approximately 80 Risperdal lawsuits, several of which were resolved just as the specific lawsuit was set to kick off. New lawsuits are slated to begin later this year. Some of the complaints allege that Janssen marketed Risperdal for “off-label”, or unapproved uses in young boys and then caused gynecomastia in this population. The lawsuits further allege that doctors were not warned about the risks linked to prescribing Risperdal to young boys.

In 2013, Johnson & Johnson, the company that owns Janssen, agreed to a settlement with the U.S. government to end allegations that it illegally marketed Risperdal. J&J agreed to pay $2.2 billion to settle allegations it marketed Risperdal, which was approved for the treatment of schizophrenia in adults, to treat the symptoms of dementia and anxiety.

How Can Risperdal Cause Gynecomastia?

Although the exact mechanism by which Risperdal causes gynecomastia is still not fully understood, the condition is thought to result from elevated levels of prolactin caused by use of the drug. In studies, nearly 90% of patients aged 5-17 had elevated levels of prolactin two months after beginning treatment with Risperdal. In a study which included 1,885 boys under the age of 18, 43 were found to have abnormal breast tissue. In other research involving minors using Risperdal, more than 2% developed gynecomastia and 0.8% began lactating.

Elevated prolactin levels have also been found to suppress the gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH), which means that patients treated with Risperdal face an increased risk of having their sex hormones suppressed. This may jeopardize the ability to have children, and may lead to a delay in the onset of puberty. Additionally, decreased levels of GnRH have been linked to low testosterone and delayed secondary sex traits including facial and body hair growth, increased musculature, genital enlargement, and voice deepening.

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 gynecomastia cases in all 50 states.

Free Risperdal Gynecomastia Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one developed gynecomastia after taking Risperdal, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a Risperdal gynecomastia suit and we can help.

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