April 4, 2017 — Over 18,500 lawsuits have been filed by young men who developed female breasts after taking Risperdal, an anti-psychotic drug made by Johnson & Johnson.
The company was also hit with six out of seven of the biggest injury verdicts of 2016. The number of lawsuits grew dramatically after publicity from eye-popping jury awards and pre-trial settlements.
The biggest Risperdal trial award was $70 million in July 2016 to a teenager who grew breasts when he was 5 years old.
Four other Risperdal trials have ended in juries awarding payouts ranging from $500,000 to $2.5 million. The largest of those payouts was to a 22 year-old autistic man who grew size 46DD breasts.
A number of settlements have also been paid to victims. In January 2017, for example, Johnson & Johnson paid a confidential settlement just three days before a trial was set to begin in Philadelphia.
All of the lawsuits claim that Johnson & Johnson knew about the risk of gynecomastia and downplayed the risk, putting corporate profits above public safety. Lawyers also say Risperdal was illegally marketed “off-label” for uses in children before they were approved.
Some of this illegal behavior resulted in $2.2 billion fine with the Justice Department in 2013, but Risperdal generated at least $30 billion. The marketing campaign was led by Alex Gorsky, who was rewarded for his success with a promotion to CEO of Johnson & Johnson. His strategy to push Risperdal is featured in a documentary series by Steven Brill: America’s Most Admired Lawbreaker.