PHILADEPHIA — Janssen Pharmaceuticals has reportedly been ordered by a Pennsylvania state jury to pay $70 million of damages to a Tennessee boy whose female breast growth was linked to his use of the company’s Risperdal.
It marks the largest Risperdal-related verdict by a U.S. jury against the healthcare giant.
Janssen had previously lost three Risperdal-related lawsuits, totaling $4.75 million.
In a verdict announced Friday afternoon, jurors in the circuit court of Philadelphia awarded the boy, Andrew Yount, $70 million on claims that Risperdal, an anti-psychotic drug, caused the adolescent boy to grow excess breast tissue, according to Yount’s attorney, Jason Itkin of Houston-based firm Arnold & Itki and court records.
According to court records, Itkin argued Janssen, a Johnson & Johnson unit, withheld information that showed a significant link between the drug and the condition known as gynecomastia.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had approved the drug only for use in adults at the time Yount had begun taking it. Since approving Risperdal for adolescent use, hundreds of cases of gynecomastia have been reported.
In clinical trials of 1,885 children taking Risperdal, 43 boys experienced enlarged breasts. In some cases, breast development reached the size of “D” cups.
Janssen’s attorney, David Abernethy of Drinker Biddle & Reath, reportedly argued that the plaintiff’s doctor had been aware of that risk, had monitored for it, but had decided to keep Yount on the drug because it was effective.
The verdict was first reported by The Legal Intelligencer.