A $2.5 million verdict issued in the first Risperdal trial has been upheld by a Philadelphia state court judge, despite Janssen's request for a new trial.

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A $2.5 million judgment rendered by a Philadelphia jury against Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the maker of antipsychotic drug Risperdal, has withstood the pharmaceutical manufacturer's call for a new trial, Law 360 reports.

Young Man's $2.5M Award Will Stand

On August 14, 2017, Judge Ramy Djerassi of the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas told Janssen, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, that the company could not get another bite from the apple. The case in question, filed by a young man, now 22 years old, who developed abnormal breast tissue after taking Risperdal, was concluded in June of 2015.

It was the first product liability lawsuit filed over the drug, which has been linked in medical research to the condition gynecomastia, to proceed to trial.

Demand For New Trial "Extraordinary," Judge Says

In his opinion on the matter, Judge Djerassi dismissed Janssen's concerns that one of the boy's expert witnesses may have evaluated the patient in Alabama, in spite of only being licensed to practice medicine in Missouri. The company's argument, the Judge wrote, came at an "extraordinary" moment in the case "and seemed calculated for maximum surprise."

As Judge Djerassi noted, Janssen appears to have waited until the last possible moment to voice its disquiet. The motion for new proceedings, the Judge said, should have been brought up before the first trial was underway.

Risperdal Linked To High Rate Of Gynecomastia

The Pennsylvania state court is currently home to thousands of similar Risperdal lawsuits, all of which accuse Janssen of concealing the drug's risks from the medical community and patients. Risperdal is an antipsychotic medication approved for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in both adults and children, along with irritability in kids between the ages of 5 and 16 who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders.

In recent years, doctors have also begun prescribing the drug, approved initially in 1993, as an off-label treatment for adolescent ADHD. But soon after Risperdal's approval, further clinical research forced Janssen to acknowledge that gynecomastia, a swelling of breast tissue in males, was far more common than previously thought.

Recent reports, including an in-depth investigation conducted by the Huffington Post, suggest that Janssen may even have doctored safety test results to present Risperdal in a more favorable light, exploiting complex statistical analyses in an attempt to lower the observed rate of gynecomastia.

Juries Grant Gynecomastia Plaintiffs Over $75 Million

While Janssen and its parent company Johnson & Johnson deny these allegations, a number of Philadelphia juries have found otherwise. To date, seven trials have now been completed, with four ending in verdicts for the plaintiff. One jury trial, which ended in July of 2016, saw a boy from Tennessee awarded an astonishing $70 million in damages. Only one trial so far has resulted in a verdict for the defense, although two were ended mid-trial due to a lack of causation evidence. Janssen has also settled a number of Risperdal cases, often immediately before their trial start dates.

Nationwide, nearly 14,000 Risperdal lawsuits have been filed against Janssen, with notable litigations clustered in state courts in California and Missouri. Over 6,000 lawsuits are pending in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas alone.



The Legal Herald