The litigation hits just keep on coming for Johnson & Johnson. Once again, J&J finds itself in the news for all the wrong reasons. But this time, its not J&J’s asbestos-contaminated talcum powders or its defectively designed surgical mesh implants at issue. Instead, J&J’s latest trial loss involves its Janssen unit and that units mishandling of the anti-psychotic drug Risperdal.
This week a state court jury in Philadelphia levied an $8 billion punitive damages verdict, the largest such verdict this year, over its wrongful marketing of Risperdal to adolescent boys, which causes them to grow female-sized breasts. The case at issue involved a Maryland resident who began taking Risperdal as a child to help combat autism. In 2015 a separate jury delivered a $1.75 million verdict in actual damages on this case on the issue of the plaintiff haven taken Risperdal that caused him to develop female breasts. That award later was reduced to $680,000 under Maryland law, and then proceeded towards the punitive damages trial that resulted in this enormous verdict.
Although the face amount of this punitive damages verdict is likely to be reduced on appeal, the size sends a clear message to J&J about the public’s views on J&J’s conduct in hiding the risks that Risperdal can cause breast development in young men and illegally marketing Risperdal to children and the elderly in the name of profit. It was such conduct that, in 2013, resulted in J&J agreeing to pay $2.2 billion to resolve criminal probes into its actions. And this is hardly the end of the line for J&J. The company is currently facing over 13,000 Risperdal suits, more than 7,000 of which are pending in the same state court in which this record punitive damages verdict was just delivered.
If you believe you, or a loved one, has developed gynecomastia (male breast development) from taking Risperdal, you should contact an experienced law firm right away to explore the possibility of a claim.