Johnson & Johnson is the parent company of Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Janssen produced and marketed an antipsychotic drug known as Risperdal for use in children.
Recently, a Philadelphia jury awarded a man harmed by the drug $2.5 million. The plaintiff in the case was injured when he developed abnormal breast tissue growth after being prescribed Risperdal for five years.
Lawyers for the plaintiff argued that Johnson & Johnson knew about the dangerous side effects of the drug and intentionally failed to disclose the dangers to doctors and federal safety regulators.
At trial, former employees testified to the company’s knowledge that Risperdal use in adolescent boys may cause a condition called gynecomastia or breast tissue growth. Even a former U.S. Food and Drug Administration commissioner testified that the company created marketing materials to downplay the side effect.
A former employee noted that the company would send free samples through their sales consultants to pediatric doctors with the hope that they would begin to prescribe the drug to children. Risperdal was originally prescribed to adults facing psychiatric conditions in the late 1990s.
Doctors, however, frequently prescribed the drug to children on an off-label use basis. While doctors are permitted to prescribe drugs on an off-label use basis, companies may only market the drugs for the purposes approved by the FDA.
The plaintiff in the case, who suffers from autism, was first prescribed Risperdal in 2002 at the age of eight, but the drug was not approved for use in children by the FDA until 2006.
The first Risperdal civil lawsuit was filed against Johnson & Johnson in 2012. The case started trial, but Johnson & Johnson quickly settled the suit. Today, the company is facing more than 3,000 Risperdal-related lawsuits with 1,200 of those filed in Philadelphia alone. Additionally, more than 700 have been filed in Los Angeles.
The $2.5 million awarded by the jury in Philadelphia may be a harbinger of things to come. In a statement released shortly after the verdict, the company stated that they were reviewing options up to and including, appeal.
Johnson & Johnson has lost more than just civil lawsuits related to Risperdal injuries. In 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice brought criminal fraud charges against the company for their off-label marketing of the drug.
Under a federal False Claims Act whistleblower lawsuit, the company pled guilty to offering doctors kickbacks to promote increased prescriptions of Risperdal to children. The company was fined more than $2 billon for its conduct.
Our firm has worked extensively with families injured by dangerous drugs. Our experienced Risperdal injury lawyers are working with families throughout Omaha, Nebraska and the state to identify whether personal injury claims should be filed.
If your son was prescribed Risperdal and experienced abnormal breast growth, contact our firm for a free case evaluation.
We will work to ensure that your family gets justice every step of the way. We know the process can be scary but we have successfully helped families like yours for years.