Drug makers are required to list potential side effects on labels and take the necessary and reasonable steps to ensure that prescribing doctors are aware of any risks to patients. Unfortunately, a mistake at any point, whether in the testing, packaging or taking a drug to market, can have a negative impact on consumers, who may then have to sue the drug company for product liability.
In the last several years, health care giant Johnson & Johnson has settled multiple lawsuits related to the antipsychotic drug Risperdal. However, a recent case is the first to go to trial and successfully claim that Johnson & Johnson hid the risk that Risperdal could cause a condition called gynecomastia, which involves abnormal development of breasts in males.
The suit was brought by the family of an autistic boy who first started taking Risperdal in 2002 when he was 7 years old. This was prior to Risperdal being approved for children. A lawyer for the boy's family said the drug caused the child to develop size 46 DD breasts.
According to expert testimony from former FDA commissioner David Kessler, Johnson & Johnson was aware of the gynecomastia risk associated with Risperdal. However, the company failed to warn doctors, parents and patients about the extent of the risks to children.
A jury found in favor of the family and decided that the drug company should pay the family $2.5 million.
A Wall Street Journal article has more on criminal and civil allegations regarding Johnson & Johnson's illegal marketing of Risperdal.
The lawyers of Shepherd, Finkelman, Miller & Shah handle consumer protection lawsuits involving a variety of products. Our firm has offices throughout the U.S. and can handle cases nationwide. To learn more about our areas of practice, please visit our overview of representative and collective litigation.