Man Who Said J&J Drug Made Him Grow Breasts Awarded $8B

Punitive damages awarded over Risperdal,
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 9, 2019 9:55 AM CDT
In J&J Suit Over Antipsychotic Drug, an $8B Payout
In this July 30, 2013, file photo, large banners hang in an atrium at the headquarters of Johnson & Johnson in New Brunswick, NJ.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

Johnson & Johnson is facing lawsuits from more than 13,000 people over the antipsychotic drug Risperdal, and now one of those complaints has spurred an enormous payout. The AP and New York Times report that a Philly jury has come in with an $8 billion award in punitive damages against J&J and one of its subsidiaries, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, after a Maryland man claimed Risperdal he took as a child to treat autism led to breast enlargement, a incurable condition in men known as gynecomastia. Plaintiff Nicholas Murray, 26, alleged that J&J failed to adequately warn doctors of the risks of the drug, which he took for a 5-year period beginning at age 9, reports the Washington Post. Compensatory damages for Murray amounting to $680,000 had previously been awarded in 2016.

"This jury resoundingly told Johnson & Johnson that its actions were deliberate and malicious," Murray's lawyers said in a statement, adding that "J&J disregarded the safety of the most vulnerable of children." In its own statement, J&J called the verdict "excessive and unfounded," complaining that it wasn't allowed to present as evidence labeling that shows users were adequately warned of the drug's risks, as well as that "the plaintiff's attorneys failed to present any evidence that the plaintiff was actually harmed by the alleged conduct." The company adds it will be "immediately moving to set aside" the ruling. The Wall Street Journal notes J&J's other recent woes on the lawsuit front, including billions in damages for cases of cancer linked to its baby powder, as well as settlements it's been reaching involving the opioid crisis. (A similar case linked to Risperdal here.)

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