Health Care

Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay man $8bn over breast growth

Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay man $8bn over breast growth”

The company is facing a series of complaints in state courts for failing to properly warn of Risperdal's side effects, including in Pennsylvania, California and Missouri. A Philadelphia jury has ordered it to pay $8 billion in punitive damages in a case unrelated to lawsuits over its signature baby powder. "Johnson & Johnson and Janssen chose billions over children".

Professor Carl Tobias of the University of Richmond School of Law said he expects the punitive damages to be lowered on appeal, citing a U.S. Supreme Court decision which found that "few awards exceeding a single-digit ratio between punitive and compensatory damages, to a significant degree, will satisfy due process".

Kline and Itkin said that Johnson & Johnson was "a corporation that valued profits over safety and profits over patients".

A judge in Philadelphia ruled that Nicholas Murray, 26, should be handed the eye-watering payout, while thousands of other cases against the drug firm are pending in the state, the BBC reports.

J&J, based in New Brunswick, N.J., said in a statement Tuesday it will immediately move "to set aside this excessive and unfounded verdict".

Johnson & Johnson said the court's exclusion of key evidence left it unable to present a meaningful defense, including what they said was a drug label that "clearly and appropriately outlined the risks associated with the medicine" or Risperdal's benefits for patients with serious mental illness.

According to the lawsuit, Murray was prescribed Risperdal "off-label" - which means when a drug is prescribed for a condition other than that which it is officially made for - after being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in 2003.

Murray's lawyers argued that Johnson & Johnson's subsidiary Janssen did not make him aware that the drug could lead to the development of female breast tissue. The Food and Drug Administration had not approved the drug for use in children until 2006, but his doctors - at the recommendation of a psychologist - said it would address his sleeping difficulties.

"A jury, if it's outrageous enough conduct, will award a big number and let the lawyers and judges work it out", he said.



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