Throughout this year, four plaintiffs filed claims against Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a child company of Johnson & Johnson. The plaintiffs—Timothy Stange, William Cirba, Austin Pledger, and Nicholas Murray—developed gynecomastia, or abnormal breast growth in males. Each claim argued that Risperdal, a drug developed to treat mood swings, Tourette syndrome, bipolar disorder, and other mental health issues, caused the abnormal growth. More importantly, the claims argue that Johnson & Johnson were aware of the potential side effects.
Risperdal was approved by the FDA in 1993 for adult use, but was prescribed to children without approval. Each of the plaintiffs took Risperdal as children, prior to its approval for children’s use in 2006. As a result, they developed breasts that resulted in ridicule, mental anguish, and surgical correction. Timothy Stange, it is worth noting, was given a jury award purely on the basis of the mental anguish he experienced as a child.
Of these four plaintiffs, three received precedent-setting victories against Johnson & Johnson. In particular, Nicholas Murray received $1.7 million in his case, and Austin Pledger was awarded $2.5 million when it was revealed that Janssen biochemists knew about the risks for children taking Risperdal and hid the information. In addition, Dr. David Kessler—former FDA commissioner—testified that J&J manipulated the results of a 2003 study on the effects of Risperdal for children. This information may weaken any defense J&J offer.
What Does This Mean for Future Claims?
These cases are crucial for future claimants standing against J&J and Janssen Pharmaceutical. In Philadelphia, the corporation is facing 1,600 different lawsuits regarding Risperdal. As the company begins experiencing losses in the courtroom, they will be far more likely to settle with plaintiffs in order to spare themselves the costs of a legal battle. Thanks to the work of their attorneys, these first few plaintiffs have paved the road for other Risperdal victims to receive the financial support they deserve for their pain and suffering.
If you have suffered as a result of taking Risperdal, contact our drug injury lawyers today.