Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay man $8bn over breast growth

pharmafile | October 9, 2019 | News story | Research and Development  

US pharma giant Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay $8 billion in punitive damages to a man over claims he was not warned than antipsychotic drug Risperdal could lead to breast growth.

In the lawsuits, Mr Nicholas Murray, 26 developed breasts after his doctors began prescribing him the drug in 2003. A psychologist prescribed the drug after diagnosing him with autism spectrum disorder.

Mr Murray has already won $680,000 in a lawsuit in the Philadelphia court, but is set to receive another $8 billion in punitive damages.

Risperdal is currently approved for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but doctors can legally prescribe the medicine for any condition they see fit.

The company has already stated that the ruling was ‘grossly disproportionate’ and is confident the it will be overturned. Johnson & Johnson also claimed the court prevented their legal team from presenting ‘key evidence’ on the drug’s labelling.

Johnson & Johnson is currently also facing court challenges over vaginal mesh implants and baby powder tainted with asbestos which are in addition to ongoing battles over its role in the US opioid crisis.

Furthermore the company is facing a total of 13,000 product liability claims relating to the drug Risperdal, and the case comes after J&J was ordered to pay $2.5 million after the drug caused an autistic child to grow large breasts from when he was eight years old – a growth which could not be reversed.

Last week J&J agreed to pay two Ohio counties $20 million over its role in the opioid epidemic.

J&J will of course appeal the $8 billion verdict.

Nik Kiran

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