Once again, Johnson & Johnson has lost litigation trial in which a young man successfully claimed the company failed to warn that its Risperdal antipsychotic could cause him to grow breasts. A Pennsylvania state court jury late last week ordered the company to pay $500,000 to a Wisconsin man who developed breasts when he was 12 years old while taking the drug.
The health care giant has now lost all four trials in which its drug caused gynecomastia, which is typically caused by an imbalance of estrogen and testosterone. In three of the four verdicts, compensatory damages were awarded. In one trial, a jury found J&J failed to warn of the risks, but did not award punitive damages because a direct link between breast growth and Risperdal was not established.
The cases have drawn attention for a few reasons. For one, the trials have served as a reminder that J&J paid $2.2 billion nearly three years ago to resolve criminal and civil allegations of illegally marketing Risperdal to children and the elderly. Along with a manufacturing scandal involving recalls of countless over-the-counter medicines, the Risperdal episode sullied the company’s well-honed reputation.