Johnson & Johnson recently agreed to pay almost $8 million in a Risperdal case. According to Bloomberg Business, Arkansas accused the company of making illegal marketing claims for its antipsychotic drug, Risperdal. While Johnson & Johnson will still face trial in others states, this puts a cap on litigation in Arkansas.
The Risperdal Case Tried in Arkansas
Ultimately, the settlement is much smaller than the $1.2 billion fine initially charged to Johnson & Johnson, but it still marks an important milestone in Risperdal legislation. Johnson & Johnson is under speculation for downplaying the effects of Risperdal on several conditions, such as a diabetes and gynecomastia, a condition that causes female breast growth in men. Of particular concern are illegal marketing claims, which point to Johnson & Johnson’s warning as inadequate in comparison with its aggressive sales process.
Johnson & Johnson isn’t admitting liability, however. According to Bloomberg, J&J is only concerned with ending the eight-year Risperdal litigation.
Risperdal, Dopamine and Prolactin – The Link to Gynecomastia
Gynecomastia is a prominent Risperdal injury; it causes men and young boys to develop breasts. It varies significantly from breast growth due to weight gain. While the latter is simply more fatty tissue deposited in the breast area, gynecomastia causes actual glandular growth. This specific breast growth can permanently affect how a man looks, regardless of weight.
Risperdal directly affects dopamine production in your brain. This may increase serum prolactin levels, which induces breast growth and lactation. While both genders make prolactin, it’s found in much larger volumes in women for obvious reasons. In addition to gynecomastia, a sustained prolactin increase can decrease bone density.
The Price of Illegal Marketing
The inherent problem with Risperdal’s marketing is the target audience. While Risperdal was approved by the FDA prior to 2006, it didn’t include adolescent use. However, Janssen’s salespeople were allegedly pushing Risperdal to pediatricians during that time. Doctors prescribe drugs how they see fit, but sales teams may not sell them for unapproved uses.
The good news for many young men with gynecomastia is that symptoms can be reversed in time by ceasing Risperdal use. In other instances, a patient may need surgery to remove extra breast tissue. This can be a huge financial burden, as insurance won’t cover this type of breast reduction surgery as frequently as it does for women.
According to Medical News Today, patients with gynecomastia had lower scores in terms of quality of life, general health, social functioning, self esteem and mental health. Though breast enlargement itself will typically subside over time, it persists in almost 10 percent of boys indefinitely. Risperdal damages mean much more than physical injury to a patient – they can also mean psychological injury that persists for a lifetime.
Speak With an Attorney
If you or a loved one have taken Risperdal and developed gynecomastia or related problems as a result, you may be eligible to file a Risperdal lawsuit. Before you make your claim, get a free Risperdal case review today. A product liability lawyer will help you be as successful as possible moving forward. More individuals than ever are winning their Risperdal cases, and there’s no better time to make your claim.
Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.