Risperdal Bellwether Trial Results in Plaintiff Victory

Published on November 16, 2015 by Sandy Liebhard

A third Risperdal gynecomastia trial has concluded in a Pennsylvania litigation that currently houses hundreds of similar claims. According to court records, it took jurors just 3 1/2 hours of deliberations to award nearly $1.8 million to the plaintiff, an autistic man who was prescribed Risperdal as a child in 2003.

In finding for the plaintiff, jurors determined that Risperdal played a significant role in the excessive breast development he had experienced while using the powerful antipsychotic medication. They also concluded that Johnson & Johnson and its Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit had failed to properly disclose the potential for gynecomastia in boys treated with the drug.

In February, another Philadelphia jury awarded the litigation’s first gynecomastia plaintiff $2.5 million after reaching a similar conclusion. A second jury returned a split verdict the following month, after finding that the defendants’ gynecomastia warnings were inadequate. However, that plaintiff was not awarded any damages because jurors were unable to determine that Risperdal had caused the breast growth he experienced.

“We think the verdict sends a message to Janssen. It’s now the third jury that’s said they failed to warn, and we believe as these cases continue to be tried that that will be consistent,” the plaintiff’s attorney told Law360.com.

A fourth gynecomastia a trial that began in early October is still underway in Pennsylvania.

No Global Risperdal Settlement, Yet

Currently, more than 1,500 Risperdal lawsuits are pending in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, all of which were filed on behalf of patients who allegedly suffered gynecomastia and other complications associated with use of the antipsychotic medication. Johnson & Johnson and Janssen are accused of concealing the drugs’ side effects and of failing to adequately warn patients and doctors about its risks.

Despite the recent verdicts favoring plaintiffs, Risperdal lawyers told Law.com that there are currently no settlement talks underway with Johnson & Johnson and Janssen. However, one attorney interviewed for the article asserted that the consistency of the jury findings on the failure-to-warn claims “should be a cause of concern for a defendant.”

For now, at least, the pharmaceutical companies don’t appear to be blinking.

“Janssen will continue to defend this litigation and will try cases where appropriate,” a Janssen spokesperson told Law.com.

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