Beasley Allen lawyers continue to pursue Risperdal claims on behalf of individuals who have been injured as a result of taking Risperdal. Risperdal is the brand name drug manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a division of Johnson & Johnson. The drug went on the market in 1993 after receiving approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of schizophrenia. In 2003, the drug was approved for short term treatment of acute manic/mixed episodes associated with Bipolar I Disorder in adults. I will give a brief history of the Risperdal litigation.
Until 2006, the drug was not approved for any indication to treat minors. In fact, in 1997, the FDA denied Janssen’s request for a pediatric indication for the drug. Despite this denial, Janssen marketed the drug for the treatment of depression, anxiety, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), conduct disorder, sleep disorders, anger management, and mood enhancement/stabilization.
In 2006, Janssen finally obtained approval to market the drug for autistic irritability for children and adolescents between the ages of 5 to 16 years old. The following year, Janssen obtained approval to market the drug for treatment of schizophrenia in adolescents between the ages of 13 to 17 years old and short-term treatment of manic or mixed episodes of Bipolar I Disorder in children and adolescents between the ages of 10 to 17 years old.
Use of Risperdal can cause gynecomastia (enlarged breasts in males), galactorrhea (milky nipple discharge), weight gain, hyperglycemia, diabetes, and inhibited reproductive function.
From 1993 until 2006, the Risperdal label stated that the risk of gynecomastia (enlarged breasts in males) was “rare” and defined “rare” as “less than 1 in 1,000.” In 2006, Janssen modified the gynecomastia warning to state that the risk of gynecomastia in adolescent males was 2.3 percent (more than a 2,300 percent increase in risk from the previous warning). There is evidence that Janssen knows that the actual risk exceeds the 2.3 percent risk that has been stated in the label since 2006. Additionally, from 1993 until 2006, Risperdal was not approved for any use for children or adolescents. There is evidence that Janssen actively promoted Risperdal to physicians treating children and adolescents during this period of time despite knowing that such promotion was not allowed.
There have been a couple of recent developments in the Risperdal litigation occurring in Philadelphia since our update in July 2016. In early November, Janssen settled a case that was set to begin trial in Philadelphia. Despite the settlement of the November trial setting, Janssen has not given any indication that it is willing to seek resolution of the Risperdal litigation in Philadelphia and California.
Janssen’s recalcitrance in seeking resolution of this litigation was bolstered by a Dec. 13, 2016, ruling by the trial judge in another Philadelphia trial that began on Dec. 2, 2016. The trial judge granted judgment in favor of Janssen after concluding the Plaintiff’s expert did not establish either general or specific causation under Texas law. In other words, the trial judge concluded that the Plaintiff’s expert’s testimony did not establish that Risperdal caused the Plaintiff’s enlarged breasts. Counsel for the Plaintiff has indicated that the ruling will be appealed.
Our firm has a Risperdal case involving one Plaintiff pending in the Western District of Tennessee that is currently scheduled to start trial in late February 2017. We also have a Risperdal case involving two Plaintiffs pending in the Middle District of Alabama that is currently scheduled to start trial in June 2017.
To date, there have been six Risperdal trials in Philadelphia, including the one discussed above. In four of the trials, the juries have awarded damages against Janssen totaling more than $74 million. In one other trial, the jury found that the warnings provided by Janssen were not adequate but did not find that Risperdal usage caused that Plaintiff’s injuries. There are more than 2,000 Risperdal cases filed in Philadelphia.
There is a separate group of several thousand Risperdal cases filed in California. Recently, the Judge handling those cases entered an order selecting almost 800 cases for trial work-up over the next year. Discovery in these cases has begun in phases and trials will proceed in 2017 and 2018.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury as a result of taking Risperdal, contact James Lampkin, a lawyer in our firm’s Mass Torts Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at James.Lampkin@beasleyallen.com.