A Philadelphia jury has awarded $70 million in a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and its Janssen Pharmaceuticals division for failing to warn that the antipsychotic drug Risperdal can cause gynecomastia, a condition that triggers breast development in boys and young men.
First approved in 1993 for use in adults with schizophrenia, Risperdal has been frequently prescribed for children with ADHD and aggressive behaviors, even though the FDA did not approve the drug for pediatric use until 2006. J&J paid $2.2 billion in fines in 2013 after the U.S. Department of Justice accused the company of marketing the drug illegally.
There are currently more than 1,500 Risperdal lawsuits pending in multidistrict litigation (MDL) in Philadelphia. A majority of the plaintiffs took Risperdal before it was approved for use in children. In the latest case, 16-year-old Andrew Yount filed suit against J&J and Janssen after he developed gynecomastia from taking the drug beginning at the age of 5. He accused the drug makers of intentionally concealing studies that showed Risperdal could cause gynecomastia.
The $70 million verdict is the largest to date in Risperdal litigation, and is the fifth case to be tried in the Philadelphia MDL. “We are glad that Andrew’s suffering now stands for something,” said Terry Yount, the plaintiff’s father. “We hope this verdict gives hope to the thousands of other boys who were disfigured by Risperdal that they will get justice too.”
J&J said it plans to appeal the verdict.
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