Risperdal Victims Fight for Punitive Damages Against J&JJune 19, 2014 — Law360 reports that attorneys are challenging a Pennsylvania judge’s order restricting them from seeking punitive damages for injuries caused by Risperdal (risperidone), an anti-psychotic drug manufactured by Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit.

Plaintiffs argued that the New Jersey Product Liability Act should not prevent them from seeking punitive damages because they were treated with Risperdal for “off-label” uses that were never approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

According to plaintiffs’ attorneys:

“That a drug is approved for ‘x’ does not mean it is approved for ‘q.’ When a drug is approved for ‘x’ condition, and prescribed for ‘x’ condition, New Jersey’s bar on punitive damages may or may not apply with respect to that use. But the bar does not apply when a drug is used for an indication the FDA did not approve.”

The lawsuits are consolidated as part of a mass-tort program in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Members of the litigation argue that drug-makers failed to adequately warn about the risk of gynecomastia, or abnormal enlargement of male breast tissue, and severe weight-gain that could lead to type-2 diabetes in children.

J&J and Janssen put warning labels on Risperdal in October 2006. Prosecutors for the Justice Department allege that Risperdal was illegally marketed to children between 1999-2005. Plaintiffs are also asking the judge not to put a statute of limitations on their claims. Last month, J&J and Janssen argued that hundreds of lawsuits are time-barred and should be thrown out because the drug-maker warned about the risk of gynecomastia in October 2006.

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