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Risperdal Lawsuits Favor Plaintiffs 2 to 1

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Philadelphia, ILThe third Risperdal trial ending with a settlement tips the scales in favor of Risperdal plaintiffs. To date, only one trial has ended in partial victory for Johnson & Johnson.

The third trial’s outcome is positive news for Charlie (not his real name), who has been taking Risperdal to treat his schizophrenia for more than a decade. “I get female thoughts and hormonal things like hot flashes, things that never happened to me before,” he says. “I always wondered why I have man-boobs; no one here [in the VA hospital] ever told me about Risperdal side effects until a few months ago. I never analyzed when or how my boobs developed, I just know it happened.”

Charlie’s situation begs the question: how many young men taking Risperdal for severe bipolar and schizophrenia are unaware of Risperdal side effects? According to Charlie, age 25, not one health professional in the psychiatric unit - where he has lived for some time - has ever discussed with him the possibility that he has Risperdal gynecomastia. He is still taking Risperdal.

First Risperdal trial

The first Risperdal trial ended in a $2.5 million loss, with the jury finding the drugmaker negligent for failing to warn about the risk of gynecomastia, and also finding that Risperdal likely caused the plaintiff’s injury. The jury found that Risperdal caused Austin Pledger to develop breasts after he was prescribed the medication at age seven.

Second Risperdal trial

The second trial ended in a partial victory for Johnson & Johnson, with the jury ruling that Risperdal probably did not cause 19-year-old William Cirba of Pennsylvania to develop gynecomastia. But the jury found that the drug company was negligent for failing to warn the public about the risk of gynecomastia. No damages were awarded because the jury could not find a direct link to the young man’s condition.

Cirba’s attorney, Tom Kline of law firm Kline & Specter, said that the verdict was a “significant setback” for J&J, even though no damages had been awarded. “Within a month, Janssen has twice been found to have failed to warn physicians treating mentally disabled and adolescents of the risks of this powerful anti-psychotic drug,” he told Reuters (March 20, 2015). Attorneys believe the plaintiff was not awarded damages because there had not been photographs of the plaintiff highlighting the alleged physical changes that occurred after he began taking Risperdal.

Third Risperdal trial

The Rispderdal lawsuit was filed on behalf of Christopher Walker, a young California boy, again in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. Johnson & Johnson on May 27, 2015 settled just a few hours into opening arguments, according to Law360, for an undisclosed amount.

Johnson & Johnson and its Janssen Pharmaceutical unit are facing approximately 1,320 similar lawsuits in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. More Risperdal trials are slated for the coming months. Further, in 2013, Johnson & Johnson and Janssen paid more than $2.2 billion to resolve civil and criminal investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice into its marketing of Risperdal and several other drugs.

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