J&J agrees to settlement with man who claims taking Risperdal caused him to grow breasts as a boyFeb 14, 2013
Healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson has reached settlement terms with a man who claims that taking the company’s drug Risperdal as a child caused him to grow male breasts.
According to a Bloomberg report, the case brought by Aron Banks was the first of at least 120 lawsuits making this claim to reach a jury trial. Johnson & Johnson decided to not allow the proceedings go any further and reached a confidential settlement with the Plaintiff on the trial’s first day.
There are at least 420 lawsuits pending against Johnson & Johnson which claim that taking Risperdal led to serious personal injuries. Of them, at least 120 were filed by or on behalf of men who had grown breast tissue while taking the drug. Banks was prescribed Risperdal from 2000 through 2004, when he was just a child,
An attorney representing Banks told reporters after the settlement was reached that his client’s childhood had been robbed from him because of this embarrassing side effect, especially for a boy.
The decision to settle the lawsuit could impact the future of other similar claims against Johnson & Johnson over Risperdal. Another trial involving a similar claim is expected to begin in September this year, according to Bloomberg.
The claims made in this particular lawsuit touch on several controversies surrounding Risperdal, an antipsychotic drug that was first approved to treat schizophrenia in 1993. Banks was prescribed the drug as a child in 2000 even though it had not been approved for use in children by the Food and Drug Administration. The drug was later approved by the FDA for use in other treatments but still the agency recently found that the company was marketing the drug actively for off-label purposes, a practice outlawed by the agency.
In the last few years, Johnson & Johnson has paid several large fines for illegally marketing Risperdal. Lawyers representing Banks say Johnson & Johnson generated billions of dollars in sales on the back of Risperdal but described a serious “human cost” to that marketing.
Most recently, Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay the U.S. Justice Dept. at least $2.2 billion to settle criminal investigations related to sales of Risperdal. The company has also been forced to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in fines by several states which buoyed sales through Medicaid programs, paying for prescriptions of Risperdal that were either unnecessary or unapproved for specific patients.