The plaintiff, Christopher Walker, agreed to the confidential settlement just hours before attorneys were set to begin opening arguments. The lawsuit was filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, where two similar lawsuits went to trial earlier this year with mixed results.
The first trial ended in a $2.5 million loss for Johnson & Johnson, after a jury found the company liable for failing to warn about the risk of gynecomastia. The jury also decided that Risperdal likely caused plaintiff Austin Pledger to develop gynecomastia.
The second ended in a victory for Johnson & Johnson. The drug-maker was found negligent for inadequately warning about the risk of gynecomastia. However, the jury was not convinced that Risperdal caused the plaintiff to develop gynecomastia.
Over 1,320 lawsuits have been filed in the Pennsylvania mass-tort program. All of the lawsuits accuse Johnson & Johnson and its Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit of failing to adequately warn about gynecomastia while aggressively marketing Risperdal “off-label” to children.
The problem is that Risperdal can increase levels of a pregnancy hormone that simulates breast growth. Young boys have been severely disfigured by the side effect and needed corrective surgery.
Earlier this month, Bloomberg Business reported that a $1.2 billion fine imposed on Johnson & Johnson by an Arkansas judge had been reduced to just $7.8 million. The original penalty was imposed after the drug-maker was accused of defrauding the state Medicaid system into prescribing Risperdal instead of cheaper, equally-effective alternative medications.
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