Another Risperdal verdict came down Friday, March 20, in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. The jury ruled the company failed to adequately warn about major side effects, but awarded plaintiff William Cirba no damages. There wasn’t enough evidence to prove Risperdal directly caused the plaintiff’s gynecomastia. Risperdal manufacturers docked for negligence include Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals.
Risperdal is named in than 1,000 lawsuits consolidated in Philadelphia alone. According to Cirba’s defense, the drug was illegally marketed for more than four years. Many young boys took Risperdal for various psychological conditions… and subsequently grew male breasts.
Risperdal Manufacturers Docked for Unapproved Uses
Risperdal was originally approved by the FDA for the treatment of schizophrenia in adults, but it was not approved for adolescent use until 2006. Unfortunately for many of the plaintiffs involved in the multitude of Risperdal lawsuits, the drug was still prescribed to them at a young age.
The drug creates a surplus of prolactin in both the male and female bodies, a hormone that causes breast growth and lactation in those who take it. While some men experience no breast growth at all, some have developed breasts exceeding a female cup size DD. Ceasing to take the drug will sometimes rectify the issue, while multiple surgeries are sometimes needed to fix the problem.
Cirba’s defense asked that Risperdal manufacturers docked for negligence include Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, Janssen. They say the company’s sales reps promoted the drug to pediatricians and physicians directly for adolescent use before 2006. For young boys, damage extends far beyond the physical. Gynecomastia can mean relentless teasing and bullying as well as self-esteem issues in developing boys. While surgery can be successful in reversing male breast growth, nothing can undo the psychological repercussions.
This marks the second time in a month that Janssen lost a failure-to-warn ruling in court. Failing to warn about serious side effects typically includes another issue: illegal pharmaceutical marketing and sales. Case in point: Risperdal sales to pediatricians.
Risperdal Manufacturers Docked Over Illegally Marketed Pharmaceuticals: A Rampant Issue?
Johnson & Johnson paid $2.2 billion to settle off-label marketing claims in 2013. Risperdal was initially rejected for pediatric use. However, J&J continued to market Risperdal to pediatricians for unapproved uses, like ADHD. Unfortunately, Risperdal isn’t the only drug under intense scrutiny for illegal marketing. Zofran and a certain class of antidepressants face similar charges.
GlaxoSmithKline’s Zofran is an anti-nausea medication for post-operative and chemotherapy patients. However, Zofran’s also prescribed to pregnant women with intense morning sickness. The drug’s numerous birth defects are caused by crossing the placental barrier, triggering lawsuits. GlaxoSmithKline also pled guilty in 2012 for unlawful promotion. At the time, it was the largest healthcare fraud settlement to date. That $3 million settlement served as a major landmark for pharmaceutical marketing and Zofran birth defects. Still, many claims from mothers noticing certain problems in their children are still being filed.
Prescriptions during pregnancy is a touchy subject. Few clinical trials exist due to potential damage in developing babies. Antidepressants which are selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (or SSRIs) caused many birth defect lawsuits. Ultimately, victims allege antidepressant manufacturers didn’t adequately warn patients about potential side effects.
Get the Help You Need
If you or someone you know took Risperdal or other illegally marketed drugs, you may be eligible to file a claim. Get your free Risperdal case review today and an attorney will contact you to discuss your case. More and more Risperdal lawsuits are mounting. Addition research on Risperdal and gynecomastia is underway. So, it’s the perfect time to seek justice and the financial compensation you deserve.
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.