Johnson & Johnson, the pharmaceutical giant and parent company of Risperdal's manufacturer Janssen, has lost its first trial. A Philadelphia jury recently awarded an injured autistic man $2.5 million after he developed 46DD breasts. The young man was prescribed Risperdal for five years beginning in 2002.
Risperdal was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an anti-psychotic treatment to help adults in the early 1990s. However, it wasn't approved for use in children until 2006. Long before the drug was approved to treat behavior problems in autistic children. Sales and marketing professionals at Janssen heavily promoted the drugs use in children illegally, however. Drug companies are not allowed to market drugs for purposes other than what has been approved by the FDA.
While doctors are legally allowed to prescribe drugs for off-label purposes companies cannot encourage the practice. Prescribing Risperdal can cause abnormal breast growth in adolescent boys. The condition is called gynecomastia.
Witnesses who testified at trial revealed damaging testimony. Former employees and even a former FDA commissioner revealed that the company knew about the dangerous side effect, and worked to suppress the evidence.
Witnesses reported that the company encouraged its sales staff to visit pediatric doctors and hand out free samples of Risperdal repeatedly. The goal was to get doctors comfortable with prescribing the drug.
In addition to the recent civil jury lawsuit that Johnson & Johnson has lost in Philadelphia, the company is facing an additional 3,000 lawsuits across the country.
In 2013, the company also pled guilty to a $2.2 billion criminal fraud case with the Department of Justice. In that case as well, the company was accused of illegally marketing its drugs, including Risperdal. They were also found guilty of providing financial incentives and other kickbacks to doctors who prescribed the drugs to children.
At Arnold Law firm, our defective drug lawyers in Sacramento have been working closely with families whose children were injured by Risperdal prescriptions. More than 700 lawsuits have already been filed in California.
Was your family affected? Do you have questions about how to hold Johnson & Johnson accountable? Schedule a free consultation today.
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