A Philadelphia jury handed down a $70 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals over a lawsuit alleging its antipsychotic drug Risperdal caused breast growth in an adolescent boy, a condition known as gynecomastia. Law360 reports that this verdict is substantially larger than the three previous ones, which total $4.75 million. The case went to trial in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas.
The lawsuit was one of over 1,700 cases pending in Philadelphia. When the plaintiff began taking Risperdal, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had only approved the drug to treat schizophrenia in adults. According to the lawsuit, the adolescent plaintiff began to show signs of female breast growth the year after starting Risperdal. In November 2005, a medical reported noted breast development and weight gain. At the time the plaintiff started taking Risperdal, the warning label referred to gynecomastia as a rare side effect affecting less than one in 1,000 patients.
The lawsuit accuses Janssen of trying to hide the link between Risperdal and gynecomastia. The lawsuit alleges that Janssen scientists were aware that the drug was associated with spikes in prolactin, a hormone that could lead to breast growth.
Attorneys for the plaintiff say the verdict is a sign that Janssen should seek settlement as opposed to further trials, Law360 reports.