Jury orders J&J to pay $8B in Risperdal case

A Philadelphia jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $8 billion in punitive damages in a case accusing the drugmaker of downplaying the risks associated with its antipsychotic drug, Risperdal, according to The New York Times.

Plaintiff Nicholas Murray sued J&J subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals in 2013 after he grew breasts while taking Risperdal to treat his autism symptoms. The lawsuit accused Janssen of downplaying the risk of breast growth in men and improperly marketing it as a treatment for certain mental health disorders in children.

The FDA approved Risperdal for schizophrenic adults in the 1990s and in 2006 gave approval to market the drug to children for irritability associated with autism.

The verdict is the first to award punitive damages against Janssen, though compensatory damages of $680,000 were awarded to Mr. Murray in 2016. In 2013, J&J agreed to pay $2.2 billion in criminal and civil fines to settle accusations it illegally marketed the drug as a way to control nursing home dementia patients and children with certain behavioral disabilities.

The drugmaker disclosed in June that 13,400 people are suing J&J over Risperdal, according to The New York Times.

J&J said in a statement to The New York Times that the verdict was excessive compared to what it paid in compensatory damages and that it will immediately move to lower it.

Read the full article here.

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