J&J Janssen Pharmaceuticals loses first Risperdal jury trial

Gynecomastia, enlargement of breast tissue in males, was an adverse effect of using the antipsychotic drug Risperdal

risperdal drug image
Gynecomastia, enlargement of breast tissue in males, was an adverse effect of using the antipsychotic drug Risperdal.

After a trial that lasted almost a month, the 12-member Philadelphia jury in the Austin Pledger – the plaintiff in the case – v. Johnson & Johnson Janssen Pharmaceuticals, ordered J&J to pay $2.5 million to the 20-year-old autistic man from Alabama who developed 46DD breasts while taking the Risperdal antipsychotic drug.

Austin Pledger took Risperdal to assist with behavioral symptoms related to autism and claimed to have developed gynecomastia from taking the drug. The young man argued that J&J knew for years that the drug could cause gynecomastia, but kept the data to itself rather than telling the FDA. The agency added a warning about the condition to Risperdal’s official label in 2006, four years after this trial plaintiff started taking the drug in 2002.

Austin Pledger’s lawsuit is the first of more than 1,000 similar cases pending over Risperdal’s breast-growth side effects.

Sources and more information
  • Man, 20, awarded $2.5M in damages after drug gave him breasts, philly, February 25, 2015.
  • Johnson & Johnson loses first Risperdal jury trial, philly, February 25, 2015.

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