Risperdal Lawsuit Settlement Funding
In May 2012, the Kentucky attorney general filed a lawsuit against Johnson and Johnson for concealing the side effects of Risperdal. These side effects include diabetes, extreme weight gain, metabolic changes, stroke and gynecomastia.
Multi-billion dollar Johnson and Johnson faced a huge blow in August of 2012 when government regulators and attorney generals for 36 states and the District of Columbia settled a lawsuit with the company with a total of $181 million for the illegal marketing of off-label use of Risperdal in children before the FDA approval. The illegal marketing is said to have covered the years of 1993 until 2004.
Texas, in 2012, was paid $158 million for settlement of lawsuits; while Montana was paid $5.9 million in 2014. Arkansas, on the other hand, obtained $1.2 billion in April 2012 for false marketing. This was the third straight loss in Risperdal lawsuits on a state level. Louisiana and South Carolina, too, received large settlements from Johnson and Johnson for lawsuits.
Louisiana collected $257.7 million dollars for defrauding the state Medicaid program and misleading the public about its health risks and South Carolina acquired $327 million both from the healthcare company from claims that the company sent marketing letters to physicians overstating the safety of the drug.
It was also in August 2012 when five cases were settled in Philadelphia court for the illegal practices of the company.
During the Risperdal trial in Pennsylvania, it was also revealed that not only did Johnson and Johnson market the product for children use without FDA approval, but they also paid doctors to speak approvingly of the product, sponsored golf outings for doctors, and other incentives for sales personnel as well as doctors.
It was in September 2012, the opening day of trial, that Johnson and Johnson settled an individual lawsuit against Aaron Banks (who was already 21 years old during the trial), a young man that developed breasts due to the use of Risperdal from the age of 9 to 14 and suffered psychological trauma because of gynecomastia. The settled amount was undisclosed to the public.
One year later, in November 2013, Johnson and Johnson agreed to a settlement with the US Department of Justice to conclude criminal and civil investigations regarding the alleged illegal marketing and off label use of Risperdal and other drugs from the healthcare powerhouse by paying a total of over $2.2 billion. This settlement also involved Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. pleading guilty to misbranding for unapproved uses and kickbacks from physicians and OmniCare Inc.
Johnson and Johnson are still facing hundreds of individual lawsuits from male Risperdal patients (both adults and children) suffering from humiliation and trauma from the gynecomastia caused by the drug. The company is expected to face more and more lawsuits from other individuals undergoing the same traumatizing side effect, and more settlements are also predicted as an outcome of these cases. Currently, the Risperdal gynecomastia cases are at differing stages of the litigation process.
Risperdal and Gynecomastia
Since Risperdal is an antipsychotic drug, it changes the chemicals in the brain. This also results in changes in an individual’s hormone levels. Risperdal blocks serotonin dopamine receptors in the brain which decreases psychotic and aggressive behavior. Dopamine is responsible for controlling prolactin levels. Since the dopamine receptors are obstructed, the male body tends to have an excess of prolactin.
Prolactin is a hormone that is responsible for breast growth and lactation in females, while controlling the sex drive of males. Because male adolescents who have taken Risperdal have an abundance of this hormone, some of them can develop breasts; resulting in gynecomastia.
Boys who suffer from gynecomastia because of Risperdal can have a number of side effects and symptoms ranging from swollen breast tissue, tenderness in the breast, pain in the breast and even nipple discharge from either or both breasts.
Boys with gynecomastia as well as Johnson and Johnson have experienced great problems from Risperdal, resulting in a major lawsuit between Johnson and Johnson and the federal government, as well as individual lawsuits from boys with gynecomastia associated with the use of Risperdal.
FDA related issues and recalls
The FDA approved the use of Risperdal in 1993 to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorders. However, the FDA approval of the drug for the use of the children was only made in 2006. This fact may seem negligible at this point, but claims during lawsuits have shown that Johnson and Johnson illegally promoted the use of this drug for use in children from the late 1990s to the early 2000s.
During the recent Risperdal trial in Pennsylvania, a previous Johnson and Johnson district sales manager name Toni Jones had said that the company had trained its sales personnel to market the drug to children’s doctors during the year 2003, when the drug was still not approved for use in children.
“Off-label” uses for Risperdal include elderly dementia, depression, anxiety, autism and other psychological disorders. Although use showed improvement in the patients the FDA still has not approved the drug for this purpose.
Due to recent litigation, our funding requirements for Risperdal cases have changed. Here are the new requirements:
- Complaint must be filed in court
- Must have a written diagnosis of Gynocemastia
- Must have at least 6 months of pharmacy records proving drug usage
- Usage must have occurred prior to 10/1/2006
- Usage must have occurred while plaintiff was a minor (under the age of 18)