In only the first three months of 2017, the number of Risperdal gynecomastia lawsuits centralized in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas has increased by more than 3,000 claims.
According to Forbes, the number of gynecomastia lawsuits underway in the Philadelphia mass tort has now exceeded 5,500.
In these lawsuits, plaintiffs allege that Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals neglected to warn that their atypical antipsychotic drug Risperdal (risperidone) may cause boys and young men to develop female breast tissue—a condition called gynecomastia. Furthermore, plaintiffs have alleged that the drug makers also promoted the use of Risperdal by young and adolescent patients before the FDA approved this use.
Gynecomastia is a condition that may be easy to joke about, but that only makes it all the more troubling for its victims. Most of the young men who now claim to suffer from Risperdal gynecomastia were taking this drug to help them cope with disorders like autism, ADHD, and other conditions that make it even more difficult for adolescent boys to fit in during the troublesome teen years. Adding physical disfigurement to their already strained social interactions has led many of these plaintiffs to suffer anxiety, depression, bullying, and other consequences that may plague them for the rest of their lives.
It has been suggested that as the number of gynecomastia lawsuits in Philadelphia continues to grow at such a rapid pace, it becomes increasingly likely that J&J will seek to settle a large number of these claims rather than gamble with more jury trials. So far, the pharmaceutical manufacturer has made a pattern of settling with plaintiffs only a few days before their trials are set to begin.
It has also been suggested that J&J intended for the number of claims in this mass tort to skyrocket, perhaps in an effort to end this litigation as soon as possible. Part of the recent rush to file gynecomastia lawsuits is a result of the drug maker cancelling tolling agreements which had basically paused the statute of limitations for filing claims. With the clock once again ticking on filing deadlines, many plaintiffs likely felt the need to file their claims quickly before their right to file was forfeited.
The tolling agreement was terminated by J&J after a jury in Philadelphia awarded a young plaintiff from Tennessee $70 million in a Risperdal lawsuit in July 2016. This was by far the highest verdict yet for a Risperdal gynecomastia lawsuit, as previous jury awards to plaintiffs were $2.5 million, $1.75 million, and $500,000. The four additional cases that have gone to verdict in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas have been dismissed, but some are currently under appeal.
Despite the growing number of gynecomastia lawsuits the makers of Risperdal face, J&J and Janssen continue to defend their drug, with one spokesperson telling Forbes, “Contrary to the impression the plaintiffs’ attorneys attempt to create, Risperdal (risperidone) is an important FDA-approved medicine that, when used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan, continues to help millions of patients with mental illnesses and neurodevelopmental conditions.”
It may be true that Risperdal is a highly effective medication for many people struggling with mental health and neurodevelopmental conditions, but plaintiffs say that they might have chosen different treatments had they been aware of all Risperdal side effect risks.
To learn whether you or a current or former Risperdal patient you love may be owed compensation for damages and suffering resulting from a gynecomastia diagnosis, please contact our attorneys for a free and confidential consultation.