In the first four trials over Risperdal, three ended with juries awarding a total of $4.75 million in compensation to boys with gynecomastia. One of the boys developed size 46 DD breasts.

On May 13, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) reached a confidential settlement in Moffat v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, four days after it was set for trial.

On July 1, the fifth trial ended with a Philadelphia jury awarding $70 million to a boy from Tennessee who started taking Risperdal when he was 5 years old.

Three months later, J&J avoided a sixth trial in Philadelphia by settling a lawsuit involving “N.F,” a 19 year-old man from Texas who was prescribed Risperdal in 2004.

All of the jury verdicts are currently being appealed. Attorneys say a large-scale settlement is unlikely any time soon, as judges in Pennsylvania Superior Court consider a ruling that would allow more plaintiffs to seek punitive damages.

Risperdal was not approved for children until 2006, but lawyers say J&J marketed Risperdal “off-label” for children and knew it elevated levels of a hormone that causes breast growth.

Investigators showed how J&J used “creative math” to make it seem like the risk of gynecomastia was 0.8%, when in fact it was 4.5% of boys.

In placebo-controlled clinical trials, 80-90% of children on Risperdal had elevated levels of prolactin, a hormone that stimulates breast growth and milk production, compared to less than 10% of children on a placebo.

Risperdal is an anti-psychotic drug that was only approved for adults with schizophrenia in 1993. In a $2.2 billion settlement with the Justice Department, J&J admitted promoting Risperdal “off-label” for elderly patients with dementia from 1999-2005.

Risperdal controlled psychotic symptoms in dementia patients, but it also doubled their risk of stroke and sudden death. The FDA issued a “Black Box” warning label in 2013. Even so, Risperdal remains a popular chemical restraint for hard-to-handle nursing home patients.

J&J also lobbied state Medicaid programs to switch to Risperdal at $3,000 a year instead of equally-effective generics at $250 a year. Texas and 36 other states filed lawsuits for Medicaid fraud, and were eventually repaid as part of the $2.2 billion settlement in 2013.

The settlement was big, but nothing compared to the estimated $35 billion in global sales of Risperdal. The man in charge of the Risperdal marketing campaign, Alex Gorsky, was rewarded with a promotion to C.E.O. of J&J in 2012, with a $25 million yearly salary.

Source: Law360.

Editor’s note: For more information about Risperdal lawsuits, please visit the Risperdal Class Action Lawsuit Page.

Posted by Elizabeth Bradley

Lifelong consumer advocate. Pop culture nerd. Grammar evangelist. Wannabe organizer. Travel addict. Zombie fan.