drug side effects lawsuitHundreds of Risperdal lawsuits continue to move forward in consolidated litigation in the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia.  Among the charges in these lawsuits, the most common and severe allegation would be that Risperdal side effects induced Gynecomastia, or the development of breasts in male patients.

According to court documents, each of these plaintiffs are filing suit against the drug’s manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, for a gross oversight of one particular side effect of Risperdal: Gynecomastia.  The plaintiffs also allege that company deliberately concealed this information to protect the profit margins, while aggressively marketing them to children.

While Johnson & Johnson officially deny any wrongdoing, they had agreed to settle five Risperdal lawsuits in October 2012, with each involving gynecomastia allegations.  This was later taken back on Nov. 4, 2013, when the United States Department of Justice announced it had reached an agreement with Johnson & Johnson to settle criminal and civil charges against the company, primarily regarding Risperdal.  The government also charged Johnson & Johnson for selling this drug for pediatric uses long before the drug was approved for such purposes.

In these allegations, the government also charges Johnson & Johnson’s unit, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, for promoting Risperdal to be used in children, despite awareness of the side effects.  The Department of Justice alleges that Janssen’s main marketing goals were to establish adolescent and minor patients as Risperdal’s target market.  Allegedly, the company had told their sales representatives to aggressively push Risperdal during their marketing sessions with child psychiatrists and mental health centers for juveniles.

In compliance with the settlement, Johnson & Johnson will pay a total of $2.5 billion in criminal and civil penalties for Risperdal injuries.  Each of these plaintiffs brought charges of: negligence, false advertising, concealing information, and misrepresenting a product.

Overview of Risperdal Side Effects on Young Boys

Risperdal is a popular antipsychotic medication that was first approved by the FDA in 1993.  It is used to treat a number of psychiatric conditions in adults and children, but has been a popular choice amongst the younger patients.  However, it was not approved to treat children until recently in 2006.  As mentioned above, Johnson & Johnson’s unit company, Janssen, aggressively marketed and distributed the medication for this purpose before the FDA deemed it safe.  Janssen was warned by the FDA to stop this, but the company did not heed.

Despite its rocky start, it is often prescribed to children to treat autism and bipolar disorder, however there was not much known about the side effects at the time.  Many experts state that this negligent attitude towards the medication’s side effects, contributed to the hundreds of lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson for the growth of breast tissue in young boys.

A study published in 2006 in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology studied the side effects of Risperdal.  The results were found to be very similar to the lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson.  While researchers were unable to state why this reaction occurred in some male patients, it did confirm that Risperdal increases prolactin levels, which is one of the main hormones in breast development.  The study concluded that this study should be administered to children with caution.

Risperdal Litigation Movement

As of now, there are 420 Risperdal lawsuits pending against Johnson & Johnson and its Janssen Pharmaceuticals’ unit, with 130 of the lawsuits involving claims of young males developing breasts.

The Risperdal lawsuits have been consolidated as In Re: Risperdal Litigation, Case Number 100300296, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

File a Risperdal Lawsuit Today

If you’re a male or you know a young male who took Risperdal between the ages of 10 and 18 years old and suffered gynecomastia (male breast growth), male breast pain, nipple pain or nipple discharge, you may be able to take legal action against the drug’s manufacturer. Johnson & Johnson has already paid out millions of dollars in settlements for Risperdal lawsuits. See if you qualify to pursue compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other damages by filling out the short form at the Risperdal Class Action Lawsuit Investigation.

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