Risperdal is an antipsychotic drug manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson. Of all medications on the market, Risperdal has one of the longest histories of legal disputes due to the side effects, mainly gynecomastia, that the drug causes. At one point, it was the most prescribed antipsychotic in the United States. What a travesty for boys and men suffering from mental illness to have the addition of developing male breasts.
The first case to go to trial regarding the consequences of the drug was in September of 2012. The trial ended in a settlement on the first day for an undisclosed amount. For more information on Risperdal and it side effects, see the blog for August 14, 2015.
Since the first court case, five more were settled in 2012, and Johnson and Johnson is now facing hundreds more lawsuits. It is believed that the drug raises prolactin levels and blocks dopamine, resulting in the possible development of gynecomastia.
If you Google Risperdal lawsuits, you will see multiple offers from different law firms offering to represent men who have had gynecomastia develop due to Risperdal. Some law firms claim there is a settlement in progress that may pay out large amounts per claimant.
Back in May of 2014, meetings were started to petition for Risperdal Multidistrict Litigation (MDL). An MDL is not a class action suit but is for individual claims.
In a class action suit, one lump sum would be awarded if a settlement is agreed upon. Then the award would be divided equally between all plaintiffs no matter what their degree of injury.
For multidistrict litigation (MDL) all of the pending claims are represented in one courtroom and heard by one judge. Then each plaintiff would be fighting his own claim and can negotiate an individual settlement with their Risperdal attorney.
Johnson and Johnson has already paid 2.2 billion dollars to the Department of Justice when, Janssen a subsidiary of J&J, pleaded guilty to misbranding the antipsychotic drug.
To date, there are more than 1300 cases pending in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. So far there have been three bellwether trials. The purpose of bellwether trials is to help gauge how juries may respond to testimony that may influence future negotiations and settlements.
In February, the first bellwether case was all over the news as it settled for 2.5 million dollars. The plaintiff was a 20 year old man who started taking the drug when he was 8 years old for treatment of autism. The second case went in favor of the defendant as there was insufficient evidence that the plaintiff’s gynecomastia was caused by Risperdal. The third case just recently settled in favor of the plaintiff for an undisclosed amount.
The statute of limitations varies greatly from state to state. If you believe you have been a victim of this drug, it may be in your best interest to see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who specializes in gynecomastia, and perhaps a Risperdal attorney.