Third Risperdal Trial Underway, As Plaintiff’s Physician Takes Stand
The third trial of a Risperdal gynecomastia lawsuit is now underway in Pennsylvania’s Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. According to court documents, jurors have now had a chance to hear from the plaintiffs’ treating physician, who testified that he never would have prescribed Risperdal had he known more about its association with excessive male breast growth.
Risperdal Prescribed for Tourette’s Syndrome
The doctor, a pediatric neurologist, had prescribed Risperdal in February 2006 to the then 11-year-old plaintiff, who suffered from Tourette’s syndrome. At the time, Risperdal had not been approved for any pediatric indications, and the drug has never been cleared to treat symptoms associated with Tourette’s in any age group.
In his opening statement to the jury, the plaintiff’s attorney had asserted that Johnson & Johnson and its Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit made millions of dollars from Risperdal sales by improperly promoting its unapproved use in children. The plaintiff also claims that the companies concealed the drug’s risks from doctors, including its true potential to cause gynecomastia in boys.
During Tuesday’s testimony, the plaintiff’s physician told jurors that he had not been aware of any information indicating that Risperdal was more likely to cause male breast growth than other antipsychotics.
“If I had the same deck of cards to play with, I’d make the same decision. But if I had a full deck of cards, and all the information, I’d have chosen a different medication,”
At that time, the Risperdal label indicated that gynecomastia was rare in adults, and would occur in about one out of 1,000 patients. But the plaintiff claims that Johnson & Johnson concealed data showing the condition was more prevalent in adolescent boys treated with Risperdal. It wasn’t until October 2006 – when Risperdal’s first pediatric uses were approved – that the drug’s label was updated to indicate a 2.3 percent rate of gynecomastia in adolescents taking the medication.
Risperdal Bellwether Trials
The Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas is the venue for a mass tort litigation that includes at least 1,500 Risperdal lawsuits filed on behalf of plaintiffs who were allegedly harmed by the medication. As a bellwether trial, this case could provide insight into how juries might decide similar claims involving gynecomastia. Two other bellwether cases have already been decided, with the first resulting in a $2.5 million judgment for the plaintiff. While no damages were awarded in the second trial due to causation issues, the jury hearing that case did determine that the gynecomastia warnings provided by the drug’s manufacturers were inadequate.
Bernstein Liebhard LLP is actively filing Risperdal lawsuits on behalf of patients who experienced excessive male breast growth allegedly related to its use. To learn more, please call 877-779-1414 to schedule a review of your case.