Risperdal, also sold under the generic name Risperidone, is an atypical antipsychotic drug prescribed to treat schizophrenia and the manic symptoms of bipolar disorder. It is manufactured by the Johnson and Johnson company in their Janssen division. The company had to pay billions of dollars already in Risperdal lawsuit verdicts and settlements in 2017 and before.
Below you can read more on the background of these cases and we give you options in case you experienced side effects yourself.
There have been several lawsuits against the company ranging from lawsuits against them for the side effects of the drug to how Risperdal was marketed. They have also been brought up on criminal and civil charges.
Johnson and Johnson agreed to pay $2.2 Billion in criminal and civil fines after being accused by the U.S. Justice Department of illegally marketing the drug Risperdal. The drug company marketed it to older adults, children and developmentally disabled people.
The drug maker was said to have marketed Risperdal as a way to control patients with dementia in nursing homes and for children with some behavioral disabilities even though Risperdal has serious side effects for people with those conditions.
Federal authorities said the company aggressively marketed the drug to doctors and institutions that cared for the elderly, despite knowing the risks to elderly patients. The company even had a specialized division called ElderCare that was dedicated to promoting Risperdal.
Studies have shown that there is an increased risk of death among elderly patients with dementia, especially for those with Alzheimer’s. One study found that out of 83 elderly patients who had taken the drug, 39 of them had died within one year of taking Risperdal. Patients with other types of dementia showed signs of increased hostility, agitation, confusion and impulsiveness.
Children who took this drug tended to rapidly gain weight, as much as 10 to 20 pounds within three months. It also raised the rates of their cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Some boys who were on Risperdal developed a condition called gynecomastia.
This is a condition in which males develop breasts, some of which even lactated. The condition is permanent and the only way to treat it is to perform breast reduction surgery or a mastectomy.
Although Johnson and Johnson claims no wrongdoing, they did agree to settle five pending lawsuits against them. The Risperdal lawsuits were scheduled to be tried in Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court. Although the details of the settlement are unknown, the lawsuits were filed by young men who had taken the drug and developed gynecomastia.
An attorney involved in the lawsuits claimed that Johnson and Johnson hid the fact that the drug could elevate hormone levels in young males, which could lead to the development of breasts. The company was also accused of having its sales personnel minimize the known side effects of the drug when they spoke to physicians. The company also gave some doctors incentives to use their drugs, including golf outings.
The drug company claimed that the breast development was a normal part of puberty and they denied any illegal marketing tactics. There were a total of 77 claimants for the Philadelphia cases that wanted their settlements with Johnson and Johnson enforced. The plaintiffs said the company contacted them and threatened to back out of the agreement if the plaintiffs didn’t file claims against specific third-party defendants. However, that stipulation was not a part of the original agreement.
Several states filed lawsuits claiming that Johnson and Johnson marketed the drug to doctors before it was approved by the FDA for its intended use. Allegations of the illegal marketing of Risperdal between 1993 to 2004 were made by consumer protection regulators in a total of 36 states. Louisiana, Texas, Montana and Massachusetts were among the states.
In January of 2002, the makers of the drug agreed to settle a Medicaid fraud lawsuit for $158 million. The Risperdal lawsuit claimed the drug was illegally marketed and it was also marketed for “off-label” uses. They made claims that the drug could help children with psychiatric disorders, such as Attention Deficit Disorder. However, there was no basis for the claims as no studies done on the effects of the drug on children with psychotic disorders.
The Risperdal lawsuit also alleged that Johnson and Johnson exaggerated the effectiveness of the drug, as well as its safety. They were accused of giving government officials money to influence them and promoted Risperdal over less expensive alternatives. This ended up costing the state of Texas millions of dollars in unnecessary over-charges to the state’s Medicaid system.
In another Risperdal lawsuit filed in a state court, the state of Louisiana filed a lawsuit against the maker of the drug, Johnson and Johnson, citing several internal documents from the company outlining their marketing plans. The state said the company promoted the use of Risperdal for the elderly and children for which it was not intended.
In one document, it was shown that the drug company stood to make $302 million in geriatric sales just months after the Federal Drug Administration notified the company their marketing materials exaggerated the benefits of Risperdal and minimized its affects. Another document, which was part of the company’s business plan, showed they planned to increase Risperdal’s share in the market for sales to elderly dementia patients. The drug is not approved for that use and there have been serious side effects in dementia patients who took Risperdal.
Drug companies cannot market their products for uses not approved by the FDA and, until 2003, Risperdal was only approved for psychotic disorders and it was never approved for dementia. The documents showing the FDA’s letter to Johnson and Johnson about their marketing tactics, which was used as part of the Louisiana lawsuit, was sent in 1999.
The state of Louisiana was seeking millions of dollars in fines, including reimbursement of public money that was used in purchasing Risperdal. The state had paid out more than $42 million for Risperdal prescriptions in 2003 and 2004. The state of Louisiana was awarded $258 million, a decision which has been overturned in 2014.
Over 10 states filed Risperdal lawsuits over illegal marketing tactics and other promotion practices for the drug. Other states are considering lawsuits as noted by documents filed by regulators in other states. Risperdal made over $4.5 billion in worldwide sales in 2007. Johnson and Johnson hadn’t set aside any money to pay for Risperdal lawsuits, which is a common practice for large corporations.
Update January 16th, 2020: Johnson & Johnson’s legal battles over Risperdal are not over yet, as they settled a case days before trial in October 2018.
On November 29th, 2017 a federal judge remanded a Risperdal Gynecomastia lawsuit in Missourri, after rejecting the defendants’ claim that the case was fraudulently joined due to a lack of personal jurisdiction. The suit named 72 plaintiffs.
Records from the Philadelphia Court reveal that more than 3,000 new Risperdal lawsuits have been filed in the first quarter of 2017.
And.. it has not been the end of it for J&J this year, because according to a May 8th 2017 filing with the SEC, at least 16,900 Risperdal lawsuits are now pending in courts in the U.S. and Canada.
If you took Risperdal and have development gynecomastia or experienced serious side effects after taking the drug, you should first contact your doctor to find out if your health has been compromised by the drug. Then you can contact a civil litigation attorney in your state.
There may be a Risperdal lawsuit pending in your state and, if it happens to be class action suits, you may able to add your case to the lawsuit.
Contact us and discuss any possible case that you may have against the makers of Risperdal and discuss your options. You could get any treatments that you need due to taking Risperdal taken care of and you might be able to win a substantial cash settlement.