October 20, 2015 — Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit was ordered to pay $5.6 million to the family of a man who died after taking Risperdal during a clinical trial.
Law360 reports that the jury ordered Janssen to pay 70% of an $8 million judgement, with a psychiatrist responsible for the rest. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Leo Liu, a 25 year-old man who was given Risperdal to treat schizophrenia.
His mother, Marion Liu, accused Janssen employees of negligence for failing to properly pre-screen him and ignoring signs of medical distress after he was given Risperdal. According to Law360:
“An autopsy revealed his cause of death was dilated cardiomyopathy, a heart injury and ‘readily treatable’ condition that can be ‘further complicated’ by the use of Risperdal.”
Just before joining the clinical trial, researchers declared Liu “asymptomatic” despite electrocardiogram (EKG) test results described as “abnormal” with “possible heart disease” that “presents an alert.” Blood tests also indicated the Liu’s liver enzymes were high.
Even so, Liu entered the clinical trial at College Hospital Cerritos. In the hospital, blood tests detected elevated liver enzymes — a possible sign of liver damage. After Liu was injected with Risperdal, another EKG showed that his heart problem was worsening.
Over the next few days, blood tests continued to show increasing liver enzyme levels. On February 25, he was transferred to an acute-care hospital, where he died 17 hours later. According to Fox 11 News, attorneys for the family said:
“He should have never been in that study to begin with and when they got that lab work back, they should have said ‘You know what, we’ll go find another subject.'”
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