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A Philadelphia jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson and its Janssen subsidiary to pay $70 million for failing to warn about the risk that side effects of Risperdal may cause breast growth in a five year old boy prescribed the medication.
The verdict was handed down on Friday in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, in a case brought by the family of Andrew Yount, of Tennessee.
It is one of several thousand similar Risperdal lawsuits pending nationwide, involving boys and young men who experienced breast growth after using the popular drug, developing a medical condition known as gynecomastia.
The case brought by Yount’s family was the fourth in a series of early “bellwether” trials, designed to help gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the litigation.
Following verdicts of $2.5 million, $1.75 million and $500,000 in three prior cases to go before juries in Pennsylvania state court, this latest verdict is by far the largest to date and may highlight the substantial liability the drug maker will face if it continues to present the same defenses at trial. Attorneys for Johnson & Johnson say they intend to appeal this verdict.
While the outcomes of these early trial dates are not binding in other cases, they may influence eventual Risperdal settlements with Johnson & Johnson for male breast growth if the drug maker wants to avoid hundreds of individual jury trials over the coming years.
Failure to Warn About Risperdal Breath Growth Risk
Each of the lawsuits involve similar allegations that Johnson & Johnson failed to provide adequate warning to the medical community, users or parents about the risk of male breast growth linked to Risperdal use by young boys.
Johnson & Johnson and its Janssen Pharmaceuticals subsidiary have been quietly dealing with the Risperdal litigation for years, with settlements reached in a handful of cases that have been set for trial. However, the drug makers have largely chosen to defend the cases, indicating that they will require plaintiffs to present their cases to juries. However, based on the response of recent juries to evidence involved in the cases, the drug maker may need to re-evaluation that decision.
Risperdal (risperidone) is an antipsychotic medication that was originally approved for use among adults with schizophrenia. Since it was introduced, it has also been widely used among children for a wide variety of conditions, including bi-polar disorders, autism, irritability, aggression and behavior disorders.
Gynecomastia is a rare medical condition involving the growth of breasts among males, which has been reported among a number of boys and young adult males who previously used Risperdal.
The impact of gynecomastia from Risperdal can have a devastating psychological consequence on teens and young men, potentially resulting in severe anxiety, embarrassment and other mental health issues that impact their overall quality of life. The breast growth also often results in the need for surgery to correct the problems, resulting in scarring and other health risks.
Although many of the cases filed by individuals nationwide have been pending for several years, Risperdal gynecomastia lawyers are continuing to evaluate and pursue new cases for families and young men who have experienced breast growth problems.