Risperdal Settlement 2015: Johnson & Johnson Settles Risperdal Breast Growth Lawsuit Just Hours Before Trial
Written by Stephen Fields on May 28, 2015
The third in a series of Risperdal Gynecomastia Lawsuit bellwether trials reportedly settled today, just hours before it was scheduled to be heard in a Pennsylvania court. According to a spokesperson at Janssen Pharmaceuticals (a division of Johnson & Johnson), the undisclosed Risperdal lawsuit settlement amount with plaintiff Christopher Walker was confidential.
In February of 2015, a jury in the first bellwether trial awarded $2.5 million to a young man who developed breasts after taking Johnson & Johnson’s antipsychotic drug Risperdal.1 The outcome of a bellwether trial indicates how jurors are likely to respond to evidence in future cases. The testimony about the potential link between Risperdal and gynecomastia (male breast growth) in the first trials may have spurred the most recent in a series of Risperdal male breast lawsuit settlements.
Johnson & Johnson and its Janssen Pharmaceuticals division obtained FDA approval in 1994 to sell Risperdal (also known by its generic name risperidone) in the U.S. At the time, the drug was only cleared to treat schizophrenia in adults. In 2006, the FDA approved it for use in children with autism.
Numerous studies dating back to 1999 have shown that taking Risperdal may result in elevated prolactin levels.2 Known as hyperprolactinemia, the condition is associated with an increased risk of gynecomastia. J&J should have known about the possible link between Risperdal and gynecomastia years before finally adding it to the drug’s safety label in 2006.
If you or your son took Risperdal and later experienced male breast growth, you may be able to file a claim for compensation. Call 1-888-210-9968 to discuss your case with our Risperdal settlement lawyers.
J&J Accused Of Hiding The Risperdal Gynecomastia Risk
Austin Pledger, the young man who recently received a $2.5 million jury award in his lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson, began taking Risperdal in 2002. He was seven years old and autistic. Pledger’s doctor prescribed the drug to help reduce irritability stemming from his autism. He remained on the medication until 2006.
Along the way, he developed size 46 DD breasts.
Pledger’s lawsuit accused Johnson & Johnson, along with its Janssen subsidiary, of concealing information about the risk of abnormal breast growth linked to the use of Risperdal. His case alleged Johnson & Johnson knew that use of Risperdal might trigger breast growth in boys. Rather than alerting consumers and doctors, the lawsuit alleged Johnson & Johnson hid the connection and continued to promote its antipsychotic for use in children, an indication that was unapproved until 2006.
In 2013, Johnson & Johnson paid $2.2 billion to the U.S. Department of Justice to settle charges of fraud, which included its illegal promotion of Risperdal. By then, however, thousands of young boys, including Austin Pledger, had already taken the drug and experienced abnormal breast development.
Former FDA Commissioner Claims J&J Knew About The Risk
One of the linchpins in Pledger’s case was the testimony of David Kessler, a former FDA official. On the stand, Kessler testified Johnson & Johnson was well aware that its antipsychotic medication might stimulate breast growth in young boys. The company’s Janssen unit sponsored a study in 2001 that showed 3.8% of boys who took Risperdal developed gynecomastia.
Studies funded by pharmaceutical companies tend to deliver drug-friendly results – at least in comparison to independently-sponsored studies. According to an article in Scientific American, “industry-funded trials were, overall, about four times more likely to report positive results.”3 In that light, the potential for 3.8% incidence rate of abnormal breast growth among boys taking Risperdal is especially alarming. The actual risk may presumably be much higher.
Neither Johnson & Johnson nor Janssen Pharmaceuticals warned the public or healthcare community about the danger until 2006. Pledger’s lawsuit noted that his doctor had not been informed about the gynecomastia risk associated with Risperdal by the drug’s manufacturer.
Risperdal Lawsuit Settlement Was Expected
The now-concluded lawsuit filed on behalf of Pledger had been closely watched by attorneys. Previous cases were settled before going to trial, making Pledger’s claim the first to be heard by a jury. The outcome, a $2.5 million jury award, suggested Johnson & Johnson may have reason to negotiate settlements with other plaintiffs.
In the second bellwether trial, the jury concluded that Janssen did indeed fail to warn the health care community that Risperdal might cause gynecomastia, but that there was not enough evidence proving the plaintiff had developed gynecomastia as a result of taking Janssen’s drug.
The latest Risperdal Settlement in 2015 showed the drug-making giant did not wait long to see how other lawsuits in the growing Risperdal litigation proceeded. A settlement at this stage is often a foreshadow of how the drug company may proceed with the more than 1,300 remaining Risperdal Breast Growth Lawsuits pending the Federal multi-district litigation (MDL).
If you or someone in your family experienced abnormal breast growth after taking J&J’s antipsychotic medication, call 1-888-210-9968 today. You may be eligible to receive compensation from the manufacturer, but the time to file a Risperdal lawsuit may be running out. Call today to learn about the Risperdal lawsuit claim filing deadline in your state.
Our Risperdal breast growth lawyers are here to listen and help you to understand your legal options. If you decide to file a product liability lawsuit against J&J, there are no legal fees unless we win compensation in your case.
The legal consultation is free. But there is limited time to file a claim. Contact our offices to find out the filing deadline in your state and get the legal help you need to pursue a Risperdal lawsuit in 2015.
1. Johnson & Johnson Loses Trial Over Risperdal And Male Breasts
2. Gynecomastia with risperidone-fluoxetine combination
3. Trial sans Error: How Pharma-Funded Research Cherry-Picks Positive Results