Since the antipsychotic drug Risperdal, millions of young boys used it to help control their schizophrenia, anxiety, dementia, bipolar disorder, depression, and autism symptoms. Now, the drug’s manufacture, Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc, finds itself in a position where it owes many of these young men a large settlement.
The settlement revolves around the fact that after they began taking the drug, many of these young adolescents developed gynecomastia.
Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. recently admitted that they’d agreed to a $181 million settlement that would paid to victims in the District of Columbia as well as 36 other states, including South Carolina. During the announcement, Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. refused to admit that they’d done anything wrong, though they did admit to adjust their advertising so that it was free of false information about the Risperdal, which seems to be an admission of guilt to the claims that not only were doctors encouraged to prescribe it to patients who had been diagnosed with medical conditions the drug hadn’t been approved to treat, but that the drug was also improperly marketed.
This could be just the tip of the iceberg for Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. It’s rumored that the results of a federal investigation into the use of the drug could result in a $1.5 billion fine being levied against the manufacture and if the company has to pay a settlement on each of the cases currently filed in South Carolina, the cost could easily exceed $327 million.
“The company is being hit from a number of different directions on this drug,” says Brian J. McCormick Jr., an attorney working on behalf of victims in this particular personal injury case explains. “Johnson & Johnson was out promoting Risperdal for children and adolescents even though the FDA hadn’t approved it yet. Children and adolescent males were especially susceptible to the injuries that could be caused by Risperdal.”
According to the legal teams of the individuals in South Carolina who have filed civil suits against Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., the types of side effects experienced by the adolescent boys who used Risperdal are quite alarming. They include gynecomastia, intestinal disorders, sexual problems, increased feelings of aggression and anxiety, and diabetes.
“This is a perfect example of why I chose to become a personal injury lawyer,” Joseph Sandefur of South Carolina’s top personal injury firm Joe and Martin explains. “When someone has to watch their child suffer as a result of a mediation that was supposed to help that child function better in society, it’s easy for everyone to feel very alone and like they don’t have a voice. It’s my job to help them understand that it’s well within their rights to fight back against the large pharmaceutical companies.”
Legally, all pharmaceutical companies are required to be honest when they put together promotional material for a medication such as Risperdal. The marketing material must make the potential side effect connected to the drug very clear and it can’t encourage doctors or patients to use the medication for anything other than what the FDA has approved it to treat.