The makers of the antipsychotic drug Risperdal, Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Johnson & Johnson, face ongoing issues with the drug and the company recently settled several claims shortly before the lawsuits were set to go to trial. Young male users of Risperdal claim the drug caused them to develop a condition known as gynecomastia (development of breast tissue) and they believe the manufacturers were aware of this risk, but failed to warn the medical community.
There are currently more than 2000 claims pending against Janssen and Johnson & Johnson, and several settlements have already occurred out of court. One of the most recent cases involved a young man who took Risperdal from approximately 2002 to 2011 “off-label,” which means he was not taking it for its intended FDA-approved use. He filed his claim in a Philadelphia court, alleging he developed gynecomastia after his decade of Risperdal use. His trial was scheduled to begin in early January, but announcement of a confidential settlement was issued January 6, 2017.
This is not the only instance of Risperdal being prescribed for off-label use. In general, the practice is accepted in the medical industry, but it has been especially common with Risperdal. One Alabama man who received a settlement equivalent to his injuries after developing size 46 DD breasts had been prescribed Risperdal to treat autism. According to information from that case, more than half of Risperdal's sales come from prescriptions for children and elderly patients, neither of which have FDA approval to use the drug.
Juries Find in Favor of Risperdal Plaintiffs
So far, four of the seven Risperdal cases that have made it to trial have resulted in verdicts that favored the plaintiffs. One case concluded in February 2015 and resulted in a significant settlement for the plaintiff.
Two other claims against Risperdal also recently ended in settlements just days before they were scheduled to begin trial. This past November, they were both settled for undisclosed amounts. One of the settlements was announced less than a week before the trial date.
There are currently two Risperdal cases slated to begin trial in February. Risperdal manufacturers have filed motions for summary judgements in both cases, according to court records. Both Janssen and Johnson & Johnson maintain their innocence and claim there have been no laws intentionally broken regarding marketing of their drug. Johnson & Johnson executives have gone as far as calling laws “vague” and claiming they have been targeted.
Have You or a Loved One Suffered because of Risperdal?
It's expected that patients will be provided with complete and accurate information, and along with guidance from their doctors, they should be able to make appropriate decisions about use of medication. If the information supplied by drug manufacturers is misleading or false, it's impossible to make an informed decision. In the case of Risperdal, the decisions made by patients based on misleading information led to lifelong consequences.