March 18, 2015 — Philly.com reports that a jury in Philadelphia has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $2.5 million to a 22 year-old man who developed size 46DD breasts as a child after taking Risperdal.
It is the first lawsuit involving Risperdal-induced gynecomastia to go to trial. Thousands more cases remain pending in Pennsylvania, California, Missouri, and other states.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Austin Pledger, who was prescribed Risperdal “off-label” in 2002 when he was just eight years old. Within a few years, he was disfigured by severely enlarged breasts due to gynecomastia.
Risperdal was not approved for the treatment of irritability associated with certain intellectual disabilities until 2006. A sales representative for the drug-maker had made more than 20 visits to the pediatric neurologist who was treating Pledger.
In 2013, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $2.2 billion to settle criminal and civil allegations involving illegal marketing of several medications, including “off-label” marketing of Risperdal in children.
Pledger’s doctor testified that he was not aware that using Risperdal could increase the risk of gynecomastia, a condition involving severe breast growth in males. Had he known about the risk, he said he would have discussed it with Pledger’s family.
Meanwhile, Reuters reports that South Carolina’s Supreme Court has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $136 million for improperly marketing Risperdal and failing to warn about side effects, slashing in half a previous verdict of $327 million.
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