J&J Hit With $2.5M Verdict in Philly Risperdal Trial
A Philadelphia jury slapped a Johnson & Johnson unit with $2.5 million in damages on Tuesday in the first verdict over the antipsychotic drug Risperdal's connections to abnormal breast growth in males, finding the drugmaker failed to warn an autistic boy's parents and physicians of the risks.
The verdict came after a monthlong trial in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, in which the jury heard evidence that Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. had worked for years to obscure evidence that the drug was linked to growth of female breast tissue — a condition known as gynecomastia — in adolescent boys.
While thousands of product liability lawsuits are pending nationwide over Risperdal’s links to gynecomastia, Tuesday's verdict is the first. One of the dozen jurors disagreed with the verdict.
More than 1,250 Risperdal-related cases are lined up as part of a mass tort docket in Philadelphia, and a second trial got underway there on Friday. Meanwhile, some 700 suits have been filed in state court in Los Angeles.
The family of 20-year-old Austin Pledger filed suit against J&J in April 2012, alleging that the boy grew large breasts after a nearly five-year course of Risperdal treatment beginning in 2002, when he was 7.