April 4, 2017 — Johnson & Johnson is facing over 18,500 lawsuits involving young men who developed breasts after taking the anti-psychotic drug Risperdal.
The number of lawsuits was reported in the company’s most recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. In total, over 100,000 lawsuits have been filed by people who were injured by Risperdal, Xarelto, hip implants, vaginal mesh, and baby powder.
Lawsuit numbers grew dramatically as Johnson & Johnson was repeatedly hit with massive jury trial verdicts. Six out of the seven biggest product injury awards of 2016 were against the company.
In July 2016, a jury awarded $70 million to Andrew Yount, a 16 year-old boy who developed gynecomastia at the age of 5 years old when he was prescribed Risperdal before it was approved for children.
Four other Risperdal trials ended in payouts ranging from $500,000 to $2.5 million. One of those victims was a 22 year old man with autism who developed size 46DD breasts after taking Risperdal as a child.
Johnson & Johnson has also paid several settlements to avoid trials. For example, in January 2017, the company paid a confidential settlement just three days before a Risperdal trial in Pennsylvania.
Risperdal lawsuits have been filed nationwide, but most cases are centralized in state courts in Pennsylvania, California, and Missouri.
Lawyers say Johnson & Johnson downplayed the risk of side effects, putting profits over safety. The man in charge of marketing Risperdal, Alex Gorsky, was profiled in Steven Brill’s America’s Most Admired Lawbreaker. Mr. Gorsky is now CEO of Johnson & Johnson.
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