PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — A man who developed breasts after taking Risperdal to treat Tourette’s Syndrome may be able to get more than the $500,000 in damages awarded to him initially, according to PennLive.
Risperdal is an anti-psychotic drug that was approved by the FDA in 1993. Manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, the drug has been linked to serious side effects inlcuding gynecomastia, or male breast growth.
Timothy Stange initially filed a lawsuit against Janssen in a Philadelphia County court where a jury awarded the $500,000 in damages, but upon appeal by both Stange and Janssen, the case was brought before a state court. There, President Judge Emeritus Kate Ford Elliot ruled on several of the appeals, but sent the case back to the county court to decide what the cap should be on the amount of damages Stange can receive.
The issue is whether Wisconsin law or New Jersey law should apply when determining the cap. Stange, who lived in Wisconsin when he developed gynecomastia, wants that state’s laws to apply. Janssen, on the other hand, argues for the law of New Jersey, where its headquarters is located.
Wisconsin’s drug liability statute allows for greater punitive damages to be awarded in such cases than does New Jersey law. The New Jersey law also bars the imposition of punitive damages if a drug has been approved by the FDA.
Elliot sent the case back to the county court on the basis that more consideration should be given to the interstate issue.
Stange received the damage award as compensation for the harm he suffered as a result of taking Risperdal, as well as Janssen’s failure to properly warn patients of the drug’s risks.
Stange was prescribed Risperdal in 2006 by a pediatric neurologist when he was just 12 years old. By 2012, he needed a mastectomy to remove his unwanted breasts.
He has permanent scars from the operation and claims he suffered bullying in school because of his condition.
Stange is one of more than 5,500 men who filed lawsuits against Janssen for the development of gynecomastia from Risperdal, according to PennLive. These men claim that Janssen concealed test data that showed the risk of the condition posed by taking the drug.
In the state court, Elliot found “substantial evidence that Janssen intentionally downplayed the risk of gynecomastia for adolescent boys using Risperdal” and did not provide adequate warnings, as reported by PennLive.
Janssen spokeswoman Kelsey Buckholtz, however, said the company is disappointed with the Superior Court’s ruling. She insisted that Risperdal, “when used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan, continues to help millions of patients with mental illnesses and neurodevelopmental conditions.”
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