Risperdal is linked to gynecomastia, or male breasts, in adolescents with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or other mental illnesses. Risperdal lawsuits and news stories have covered victims’ stories at length. But the lesser-known side of this antipsychotic is its effect on elderly Risperdal victims. Patients who, due to their conditions, are often unaware of Risperdal’s dangers — or that they’re even taking it.
Elderly Risperdal Victims Highlight Unethical Behavior in Lawsuit Claims
Despite the FDA’s repeated warnings that marketing Risperdal as safe and effective for the elderly was misleading, doctors didn’t receive adequate updates. Instead, they continued prescribing Risperdal to elderly patients. In fact, the FDA cautions that “behavioral disturbances in elderly dementia patients were not necessarily manifestations of psychotic disorders.” Ethical questions regarding the drug’s marketing to demented patients are raised, since Risperdal was often prescribed for “behavioral control.” In fact, J&J aggressively marketed Risperdal for dementia through an “ElderCare sales force,” targeting nursing homes and geriatricians. Many of these marketing claims aimed to help control “behavioral disturbances.”
In addition, J&J were allegedly aware that Risperdal posed a myriad of health risks for the elderly. However, they downplayed those risks in their marketing. One of them is an increased risk of strokes. Another is the risk of developing diabetes. Covering up and downplaying clinical studies showing danger for the elderly make J&J wholly responsible for those negative side effects. Moreover, it comprises a break in the pharmaceutical code of ethics.
Why J&J Paid $2.2 Billion in Fines
In November 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a statement that Johnson & Johnson (who makes and distributes Risperdal) filed false claims about the drug to federal healthcare programs. They promoted Risperdal for off-label uses, misstating its safety, and paying kickbacks to prescribing physicians. Johnson & Johnson pled guilty, agreeing to pay more than $2.2 billion to resolve criminal liability for the drug.
While other claims also included negative side effects and safety issues for the middle-aged and children, elderly Risperdal victims also suffered from negligence. Attorney Zan Memeger says: “J&J’s promotion of Risperdal for unapproved uses threatened the most vulnerable populations of our society — children, the elderly and those with developmental disabilities.”
If you or a loved one became a victim of fraudulent Risperdal marketing, you may be eligible for financial compensation. As part of the $2.2 billion settlement, elderly Risperdal victims and other claimants may be compensated. Get a free evaluation to speak to a Risperdal attorney and get the justice you deserve.