“I just recently put two and two together after researching Risperdal online,” says Anthony. “I can’t connect it with anything in my medical history - I’m not overweight, no one in my family has diabetes, it just came out of the blue.”
Anthony’s doctor took him off Risperdal but neglected to tell him why, and if it had anything to do with his recent diabetes diagnosis. Same goes for Sharon. “When I was about 18 years old, my family doctor diagnosed me with diabetes and I distinctly remember him taking me off Risperdal, but he never told me about a link or Risperdal diabetes,” she says.
Unlike Anthony, Sharon says she put on weight as a teen and weight gain can be associated with Risperdal.
According to Bloomberg (Jan. 2012), a witness testified that Johnson & Johnson, the Rispderdal maker, hid three studies from the FDA showing some patients using Risperdal developed diabetes, while at the same time saying the antipsychotic drug didn’t cause the disease. The first study back in 1999 had researchers at Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen unit reporting about 50 percent of patients taking Risperdal in a study developed diabetes after a year on medication.
That study determined Risperdal caused “medically serious weight gain” that led study subjects to develop diabetes. Dr. Joseph Glenmullen, psychiatrist and Harvard Medical School instructor, testified as such on behalf of the state of Texas that filed a lawsuit over Janssen’s marketing of the drug (Texas v. Janssen LP, D-1GV-04-001288, District Court, Travis County, Texas (Austin)). During the trial, Glenmullen said that Janssen salespeople were telling doctors that researchers concluded the drug didn’t cause the disease. In 2011, a South Carolina judge ordered Janssen to pay more than $327 million in damages over its Risperdal marketing practices in that state.
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Writing in its May 19 motion for summary judgment, Janssen Pharmaceuticals argued that plaintiffs were filing cases years and sometimes decades after they were aware of problems with the drug, and even long after they were aware of their own injuries.
“Based on the undisputed facts, Janssen respectfully requests that the court find that, for purposes of the statute of limitations, all plaintiffs were on inquiry notice of a potential connection between Risperdal use and gynecomastia no later than October 31, 2006,” Janseen wrote.
However, Janssen has reached about 80 Risperdal settlements in Philadelphia and trials in a new set of cases are expected to begin in July, according to court records.