Andrew Yount was awarded $70 million last week by a Philadelphia jury. The Tennessee boy started taking Risperdal in 2003 when he was just five years old and developed gynecomastia (male breast growth) just one year after taking the anti-psychotic medication.
According to Jason Itkin, Yount’s attorney, damaging testimony against Johnson & Johnson, particularly by Yount’s father convinced the jury that the giant drug company intentionally falsified, concealed or destroyed evidence. Itkin and other attorneys representing Yount argued that Janssen, a subsidiary of J&J, knew about the link between Risperdal and gynecomastia yet decided to withhold that information. Yount’s attorneys provided Janssen’s internal documents that showed it purposely limited the medical community’s understanding of the risks associated with Risperdal.
Itkin told the Pennsylvania Record that “all the cases rise and fall on the specific facts of the case,” which is indeed good news for more than approximately 1,500 Risperdal cases still pending. Itkin also noted that this award, and the largest to date, means attorneys are learning how to maximize their clients’ recoveries.
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J & J and Janssen argue that this amount “is entirely out of step with any reasonable analysis of actual damages suffered by the plaintiff, and that millions of Risperdal patients have reaped significant benefits from their use of the medication,” according to Injury Lawyer News. Indeed J&J has made millions of dollars from this medication. Perhaps $70 million isn’t much to pay for damaging a boy’s life.