Update on Risperdal, the Drug that Can Cause Gynecomastia
Litigation against Johnson and Johnson (J&J) for their drug Risperdal, had the second highest growth rate for 2016, following Xarelto. Xarelto may be reaching a plateau for new lawsuits, but litigation against J&J has no indication of slowing down. In November 2016, there was a 39% increase with over 15,400 pending lawsuits.
Risperdal is an anti-psychotic drug that was approved by the FDA in 1993 for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder for adults. In 2007 the drug was approved for use by children. Along with the stated side-effects, the development of breasts known as gynecomastia was significantly understated. Many physicians were unaware of the complication due to inadequate labeling and therefore were not able to warn parents.
Many of the men who used Risperdal chose to have surgery to get rid of their female type breasts. In order to receive compensation for their surgery and emotional trauma, lawsuits were filed.
As the trials move forward, the most recent victory went to the plaintiff who had been on Risperdal since he was 5 years old. The jury awarded him $70 million. The Philadelphia jury believes J&J failed to have a proper warning on the label to warn men and physicians of the risk of breast development, even though J&J were aware of the side effect for many years.
J&J will continue to defend each case and have no plans to discontinue Risperdal as they feel it is a “safe” drug, and the benefits outweigh the risks. Even with millions of dollars in awards, J&J considers the payouts just the cost of doing business as the drug brings in billions of dollars in sales each year.
Not all verdicts are in favor of the plaintiffs, one such case in March of this year was tossed out when the treating physician claimed she would have prescribed the drug even with a different warning as she felt the benefits outweighed the risks. This is one of three cases that went in favor of the defendant; however, the plaintiffs plan to appeal.
As consumers become more aware of the gross negligence by J&J regarding their drug Risperdal, they may eventually see a drop in sales.
Dr. Miguel Delgado, M.D. has been treating patients with gynecomastia since 1989 and is an expert in his field. If you are concerned with the development of female type breasts, call today (415) 898-4161 for an appointment with Dr. Delgado for a confidential consultation.