A fourth Risperdal gynecomastia plaintiff is now making his case to a Pennsylvania jury, as the mass tort program underway in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas continues its bellwether trial program. Court papers indicate that the trial commenced on October 27th, with the plaintiff’s attorney telling jurors that Johnson & Johnson and Janssen Pharmaceuticals knew that Risperdal could cause excessive breast growth in boys, but failed to sufficiently warn doctors and patients about this potential complications
According to a report from Law360.com, the plaintiff in this case is an autistic man who was first prescribed Risperdal in 2003 when we was just nine years old. At the time, the medication had not yet been approved for any pediatric indications. In fact, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) would not clear Risperdal for use in autistic children until October 2006. When the plaintiff was initially prescribed the powerful antipsychotic, its label indicated that gynecomastia occurred in fewer than one in 1,000 patients.
During opening arguments, the plaintiff’s attorney asserted that Johnson & Johnson and Janssen misled the FDA regarding the rate at which gynecomastia occurred in adolescent boys taking Risperdal. Among other things, he pointed to internal emails in which company officials acknowledged that Risperdal was associated with greater spikes in prolactin compared to its competitors. Such spikes have been tied to the occurrence of gynecomastia.
“Drug companies must truthfully and accurately inform about the side effects of their medicines, and in this case Janssen Pharmaceuticals did not warn Joy Murray that their drug Risperdal could cause Nicholas to grow female breasts,” he said.
When Risperdal was approved for pediatric indications in 2006, the drug’s label was revised to note that gynecomastia was a Risperdal side effect experienced by 2.32% of children taking the drug.
As a bellwether trial, the outcome of this case could provide valuable insight into how juries might rule in hundreds of other Risperdal gynecomastia cases currently pending in the Pennsylvania mass tort program. In February, the plaintiff in the proceeding’s first trial over male breast growth was awarded $2.5 million. A month later, a second plaintiff was denied compensation after the jury hearing his case was unable to determine that Risperdal had actually caused his gynecomastia. However, the panel did find that the warnings provided to doctors and patients were inadequate. A third trial got underway earlier this month, and has yet to conclude.
Legal help is available to men and boys who allegedly developed gynecomastia due to their use of Risperdal. To arrange for a free Risperdal lawsuit review with an attorney at Bernstein Liebhard LLP, please call (888) 994-5772.