December 18, 2015 — Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen unit has been ordered to pay $500,000 to a boy who developed breasts after taking the antipsychotic drug Risperdal.
The lawsuit was filed by Timothy Stange, a boy from Wisconson who developed gynecomastia (enlarged male breasts) after taking Risperdal for three years (2006-2009) to control symptoms of Tourette syndrome.
Stange was 11 years old when he took the drug and developed gynecomastia the next year. His attorneys argued that physical disfigurement caused humiliation in his teenage years.
The case is the fourth involving Risperdal to go before a jury in Philadelphia. The litigation has resulted in one defense verdict in favor of Janssen, and two verdicts in favor of plaintiffs — one $1.75 million award last month, and one $2.5 million award in February. Attorneys for Stange said the award was “modest,” and told Law 360:
“Janssen’s conduct is indefensible. It is the worst conduct I’ve seen by a pharmaceutical company in four decades of handling pharmaceutical liability cases.”
Janssen was accused of marketing Risperdal for “off-label” (unapproved) use in children, against warnings from the FDA and evidence of hormonal changes that could lead to gynecomastia.
A recent exposé by investigative journalist Steven Brill details how executives at Janssen manipulated clinical trial data to downplay gynecomastia while marketing Risperdal to children. At the time, Risperdal was only approved for adults with schizophrenia.
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