September 11, 2012 — On the first day of the trial, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) agreed to settle a Risperdal lawsuit filed by a man who claims the antipsychotic drug caused him to grow male breasts as a child, a condition called gynecomastia. He later required surgery to suction fat from his breast tissue. As a condition of the agreement, the terms of the settlement will remain confidential.
The plaintiff in the lawsuit was prescribed Risperdal between 1999 and 2004, when he was a child between the ages of 9-13 years old. Banks’s attorney told Bloomberg News, “This drug caused female breasts to grow on little boys around the country. Their childhoods were stolen, but billions were made.”
J&J faces an additional 420 lawsuits from people who were injured by Risperdal, according to a regulatory filing last month. Approximately 130 of these involve gynecomastia claims. Another Risperdal gynecomastia lawsuit is scheduled for trial in Philadelphia September 20, 2012.
J&J has also faced government investigations and lawsuits for its marketing of Risperdal, including allegations that the company marketed Risperdal for unapproved use in children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). J&J recently agreed to a record $2.2 billion settlement with the U.S. Justice Department due to off-label marketing and pay-offs to nursing home companies regarding several drugs, including Risperdal. J&J has also paid hundreds of millions of dollars to settle lawsuits filed by 36 state Attorney General offices who allege the company defrauded the state Medicare system.
Risperdal is a powerful antipsychotic medication that was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1993 for the treatment of schizophrenia. It was never approved for use in children. Subsequent research has linked the use of Risperdal in children to serious weight gain, gynecomastia, diabetes, drowsiness, and severe withdrawal in some patients.