Pennsylvania Risperdal lawsuit filings increased significantly during the first half of 2017, making the docket the fastest-growing mass tort program in the Philadelphia Complex Litigation Center.
According to The Legal Intelligencer, Risperdal filings have increased by 185% since January 1st. The litigation now makes up 55.8% of the Complex Litigation Center’s case inventory.
A total of nine mass tort programs are currently underway in Philadelphia. The litigation involving Xarelto grew by 17% during the first half of 2017. Pelvic mesh was the only other mass tort to experience any growth.
Risperdal is an atypical antipsychotic approved to treat adult and adolescent schizophrenia, bipolar disorder in adults and children ages 10-to-17, and irritability in children (5-to-16 years of age) with autistic disorder. It is also frequently prescribed off-label to treat children with ADHD.
Most of the Risperdal lawsuits pending in Philadelphia involve gynecomastia, a condition marked by the excessive growth of breast tissue in men and boys. According to the complaints, exposure to Risperdal can stimulate the pituitary gland to overproduce prolactin, a hormone that plays a role in female breast development. Excessive levels of prolactin in males can result in the abnormal growth of breast tissue, nipple discharge, and breast swelling and tenderness.
Prior to October 2006 – the same month it was approved for use in children – the Risperdal label characterized gynecomastia as a rare side effect that appeared in less than 1 in 1,000 patients. That month, the prescribing information was updated to note that 2.3% of male adolescents treated with Risperdal had developed the condition.
Plaintiffs pursuing Risperdal gynecomastia lawsuits claim that Johnson & Johnson and its Janssen Pharmaceutical unit had concealed data linking the drug to male breast growth and failed to warn the public of this potential risk. They also charge that the companies wrongly promoted the use of Risperdal in children long before pediatric indications were approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
According to The Legal Intelligencer, as many as 10 Risperdal gynecomastia trials are expected to be convened in Philadelphia through the first half of 2018. The mass tort litigation has already concluded seven, four of which resulted in plaintiffs’ verdicts and damage awards ranging from $500,000 to $70 million. Two lawsuits were dismissed midtrial, while a one ended with a partial verdict for the defense.
Undisclosed Risperdal settlements have also been reached in a handful of gynecomastia claims.