A Philadelphia court has awarded a man $8 billion in punitive damages from drug company Johnson & Johnson over breast growth side effect.
A Philadelphia jury has instructed Johnson & Johnson to pay 26-year-old Nicholas Murray $8 billion in damages over claims that he was not warned that the company’s anti-psychotic drug Risperdal could lead to breast growth. According to Murray’s lawyers, J&J subsidiary Janssen placed “profits over patients” in marketing the drug.
J&J said it will be appealing the ruling, which it called “grossly disproportionate”. Several complaints have been filed by patients in the US against the company for its failure to properly warn patients about Risperdal’s side effects. Murray’s case was one of thousands pending in the state.
In the case, Murray claimed that he developed breasts after his doctors prescribed the drug in 2003 after they diagnosed him with autism spectrum disorder. Risperdal, while approved for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, can be prescribed by doctors for any condition they see fit.
According to the company, it is confident that the ruling will be overturned and claimed that the court hindered its legal team from presenting “key evidence” on the drug’s labeling. In 2015, a jury awarded Murray $1.75 million after finding the company negligent in failing to warn consumers.
J&J is also currently facing complaints in the US regarding its vaginal mesh implants and baby powder allegedly tainted with asbestos. Aside from these cases, the company was also ordered by an Oklahoma court in August to pay $572 million for its contribution to an opioid epidemic in the state due to a “false and dangerous” sales campaign. It will also file an appeal for this case.
In addition, the pharmaceutical giant has agreed to a $20.4 million settlement with two Ohio counties, ahead of an opioid crisis trial, scheduled to take place later this October.