December 18, 2015 — A jury in Philadelphia has ordered Janssen Pharmaceuticals to pay $500,000 to a boy from Wisconsin who was diagnosed with gynecomastia after taking Risperdal as a teenager.
The lawsuit was filed by a boy who took Risperdal to control symptoms of Tourette’s syndrome from 2006 to 2009, beginning when he was just 11 years old. He developed enlarged male breasts and was diagnosed with gynecomastia the following year.
Attorneys for Stange called the award “modest” and said it was mostly compensation for his humiliation and physical disfigurement during his teenage years. One attorney told Law 360:
“Janssen’s conduct is indefensible. It is the worst conduct I’ve seen by a pharmaceutical company in four decades of handling pharmaceutical liability cases.”
The case is the fourth to go before a jury in Philadelphia. Janssen has won only one trial. Two others ended in favor of plaintiffs, with a $2.5 million award in February and a $1.75 million award in November.
All of the plaintiffs accuse Janssen of illegally marketing Risperdal for “off-label” (unapproved) uses in children. Journalist Steven Brill also published an exposé detailing how executives used “creative math” to manipulate clinical trial data and downplay the risk of gynecomastia.
Risperdal is a powerful antipsychotic drug that was only approved for adults with schizophrenia until 2006. When it is used by children, Risperdal can cause massive hormonal changes that lead to breast growth. Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed by victims and Janssen has paid $2.2 billion to settle allegations with the Justice Department.