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Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay $8bn in Risperdal case

A jury has said that Johnson & Johnson must pay $8 billion in the case over male breast growth linked to Risperdal.

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A Philadelphia jury said that Johnson & Johnson (J&J) must pay $8 billion in punitive damages to a man who previously won $680,000 over his claims that the company failed to warn young men using its antipsychotic drug Risperdal could grow breasts, Reuters has reported.

The jury’s verdict in favour of Nicholas Murray came in the first case in which a Pennsylvania jury had been able to consider awarding punitive damages in one of a number of Risperdal cases pending in the state.

“This jury, as have other juries in other litigations, once again imposed punitive damages on a corporation that valued profits over safety and profits over patients,” said Tom Kline and Jason Itkin, Murray’s lawyers in a joint statement. “Johnson & Johnson and (subsidiary) Janssen chose billions over children.”

The plaintiffs have claimed that J&J failed to warn of the risk of gynecomastia, the development of enlarged breasts in males, associated with Risperdal.

According to the report, J&J said the most recent award was “grossly disproportionate with the initial compensatory award in this case, and the company is confident it will be overturned”. It added that the jury in the case had not been allowed to hear evidence of Risperdal’s benefits.

In 2015 Murray was awarded $1.75 million after finding J&J was negligent in failing to warn of the risk of gynecomastia. Murray alleged in his lawsuit that he developed breasts after his doctors began prescribing him Risperdal in 2003, the report continued. The state appeals court upheld the verdict in February 2018, but reduced it to $680,000.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug in 1993 for treating schizophrenia and episodes of bipolar mania in adults.

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