The number of lawsuits is staggering. So is the amount of money Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay to people who were injured.
In 2016, the company lost six of the seven largest product injury verdicts in the United States. Those big trial losses include:
- February 2016 — $72 million talcum powder verdict in St. Louis to a woman from Alabama who died of ovarian cancer from using baby powder for 35 years
- March 2016 — $502 million DePuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implant verdict in Dallas to five people who suffered metal poisoning, device failure, and surgery
- May 2016 — $55 million talcum powder verdict in St. Louis to a woman from South Dakota with ovarian cancer who used baby powder for 45 years
- July 2016 — $70 million Risperdal verdict in Philadelphia to a teenage boy from Tennessee who grew breasts (gynecomastia) at the age of 5 years old
- October 2016 — $70 million talcum powder verdict in St. Louis to a woman from California who survived ovarian cancer after using baby powder for 40 years
- December 2016 — $1 billion DePuy Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implant verdict in Dallas to six people from California who suffered metal poisoning and device failure
The company’s most recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission reported nearly 103,000 lawsuits involving five products: Vaginal mesh (54,800), Risperdal (18,500), Xarelto (16,900), Pinnacle hip implants (9,400), and talcum powder (3,100).
The lawsuits involve different products, but all claim that Johnson & Johnson knew the products were dangerous and downplayed risks, putting corporate profits over public safety.
Here’s one example: Alex Gorsky was in charge of marketing Risperdal at Johnson & Johnson. His strategy downplayed side effects, encouraged “off-label” use in children, lobbied states to buy Risperdal over equally-effective inexpensive generics, and paid kickbacks to Omnicare for prescribing Risperdal in nursing homes.
The company paid $2.2 billion in fines to the Justice Department for some of this illegal conduct in 2013, but Risperdal generated over $30 billion during Gorsky’s tenure. For his success, Gorsky was rewarded with a CEO as Johnson & Johnson, where he remains today.