A jury has awarded our client $1.75 million in a case against major drug maker, Johnson & Johnson. Attorneys Jason and Cory Itkin took the lead on the case, fighting for a young boy, Nicholas M., who developed abnormal breast growth after taking the drug Risperdal.
This is the fourth Risperdal case to be resolved in Philadelphia over the last few months. Three other cases were brought forward in Pennsylvania state court alleging that J&J and drug maker Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. did not fully or properly disclose the risks of taking their antipsychotic drug—especially for young boys.
While J&J’s lawyers tried to fight the claims, the jury agreed that Risperdal was a major factor in causing the young boy our firm represented to develop breasts since prescribed the drug in 2003. The jury also ruled that Janssen did not provide adequate warnings to physicians regarding the potential side effects.
Other Lawsuits Serve to Demonstrate J&J’s Failure to Warn
While we are extremely happy to have helped our client obtain the fair compensation he deserves, we recognize that the issue with J&J is not over. Our client’s case was the fourth in a series of lawsuits that actually made it to trial in the last year—many do not even make it that far due to inadequate evidence or basis for a claim.
Our suit claimed that J&J not only knew about the link between Risperdal and gynecomastia (a condition that causes abnormal breast growth) years prior to adjusting their warning labels, but also that they failed to adequately communicate the true seriousness of the risk.
Earlier this year, another jury ruled that a $2.5 million verdict be awarded to a young boy against J&J for the same exact issue. Sadly, not all cases ended as successfully as this. A case in March ended without any damages being awarded when not enough evidence could be produced to show the plaintiff’s condition was directly caused by J&J’s dangerous drug. The third trial just opened last month and is still being litigated.
It is believed that there are around 1,500 other Risperdal cases pending in a mass tort docket in Philadelphia County. This is in addition to others that have been filed in the past, including a suit by the U.S. government.
Our Firm Steps Up to Secure Justice Against Major Drug Company
When our client began to have difficulty sleeping as a 9-year-old in 2003, his pediatrician prescribed him Risperdal. At this time, the drug was only approved for treating schizophrenia in adults. According to the warning label, gynecomastia was a potential rare side effect that only occurred in less than one and 1,000 patients.
Eventually, the FDA moved to approve the drug for treating autism symptoms in young adolescents in 2006. This was two years before Nicholas stopped taking Risperdal. The updated label on the drug stated that gynecomastia was a side effect that only occurred in 2.3 percent of children; however, Jason Itkin stated that many studies conducted by J&J themselves showed that the percentage was much higher, around 12.5 percent.
These studies were in Johnson & Johnson’s hands far before they made any changes to labels or provided any increased warnings. This failure, Jason Itkin argued, deserves to be held liable.
"When a company hurts a child with special needs, it is our job as a community and a society to hold it accountable and have them take responsibility," he said.
We are proud to have been able to help Nicholas and his family get the justice and financial recovery they deserve. Arnold & Itkin is not afraid to take on big companies like Johnson & Johnson and Janssen.