When a Philadelphia judge awarded a Tennessee man and his family $70 million in damages because of Risperdal side effects this past July, it sent shockwaves through the Risperdal litigation. Now a judge added $6.7 million in delay damages on top of the $70 million to be awarded to that same plaintiff.
When the fifth Risperdal trial began in Philadelphia in June, attorneys for the plaintiffs came out swinging with a taped deposition from former FDA Commissioner David Kessler, who testified the manufacturers obscured clinical evidence given to the FDA to deemphasize the link between Risperdal and gynecomastia, or male breast growth. The plaintiff, Andrew Yount, began taking Risperdal in 2003 to treat psychiatric problems, but the drug caused him to grow female breasts.
The stakes were high for Risperdal’s manufacturer, Janssen Pharmaceuticals (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson), because the company already paid out significant funds for Risperdal legal troubles. In 2013, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) agreed to pay $2.2 billion to settle criminal and civil claims that the company illegally marketed Risperdal for use in children and the elderly.
While previous Risperdal trials also favored the plaintiffs, none awarded such substantial damages. The verdict likely has Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Johnson & Johnson worried because they are facing an additional 1,500 lawsuits over Risperdal. Although they plan to appeal the verdict, the Risperdal litigation could end being very costly.
Another of J&J’s subsidiaries, DePuy Orthopedics also faces costly litigation over Pinnacle hip implant failures. The last trial awarded a whopping $502 million to six plaintiffs. These hip implant lawsuits could spell disaster for J&J when coupled with the baby powder lawsuits the company is also facing.
Cases concerning both the Pinnacle hip implant and baby powder litigations will come to trial this month and could potentially result in even more multimillion-dollar verdicts.