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Risperdal Lawsuits Continue to Mount as Gynecomastia Settlements Reached in Bellwether Cases

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Lawsuits continue to be filed on behalf of boys and young men diagnosed with gynecomastia from side effects of Risperdal, as the maker of the atypical antipsychotic medication selectively settles individual cases set for trial over their failure to warn about the risk that male users may experience abnormal breast growth.

There are currently several thousand Risperdal lawsuits pending against Johnson & Johnson, with a handful of the older cases set for trial over the past year to help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the litigation.

While Johnson & Johnson has reached some gynecomastia settlements on the eve of trial in a few of those “bellwether” cases, the drug maker has refused to negotiate any global deals to resolve large numbers of claims and a growing number of new Risperdal lawsuits continue to be filed.

One of the latest was a complaint (PDF) filed by Nicholas Sheldon in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York last week, indicating that he developed gynecomastia following use of Risperdal and a generic equivalent of risperidone between 1997 and 2012.

Sheldon was diagnosed with the male breast growth in July 2010, but indicates that neither he nor his doctors knew about the link between Risperdal and gynecomastia at that time.

The lawsuit raises similar allegations to those presented in other claims, indicating that Johnson & Johnson and it’s Ortho-McNewil Janssen Pharmaceuticals subsidiary knew or should have known about the gynecomastia risk from Risperdal, yet concealed their knowledge from consumers, the medical community and general public.

“The current warnings for [Risperdal] are still simply inadequate,” indicates Sheldon in the complaint. “The Pharmaceutical Defendants have failed and continue to fail in their duties to warn and protect the consuming public, including the Plaintiff herein.”

Risperdal Settlements Reached in Select Cases

Sheldon’s complaint was filed only days after a bellwether case in Pennsylvania state court was set to go to trial earlier this month. However, Johnson & Johnson reportedly reached an agreement to settle that Risperdal case on January 6, avoiding the unpredictability of a jury trial.

Johnson & Johnson made a similar decision to settle another Risperdal bellwether claim in November 2016. However, the details of both agreements are confidential and have not been disclosed.

The settlements come after several recent large verdicts returned by different juries in Pennsylvania state court, where most Risperdal lawsuits are currently pending.

In July 2016, the family of a five year old Tennessee boy was awarded $70 million in damages, with other prior verdicts including $500,000 in December 2015, $1.75 million in November 2015 and $2.5 million in February 2015.

Since the drug maker has not been able to resolve large numbers of claims, additional bellwether trials are expected to be set for trial in the future.

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