Johnson & Johnson Must Pay $8 Billion Over Drug Side Effect: Jury

Johnson and Johnson

J&J must pay $8B in Risperdal case: Jury

The award came in the case of Nicholas Murray, a Maryland resident who began taking Risperdal as a child to help battle autism.

"This jury, as have other juries in other litigations, once again imposed punitive damages on a corporation that valued profits over safety", attorneys Tom Kline and Jason Itkin said in a statement.

Reuters cited a legal expert who said he expected punitive damages to be lowered considerably following any appeal, although he noted that the verdict was about sending a message to J&J. 'Johnson &Johnson and (subsidiary) Janssen chose billions over children'.

Mr Murray, 26, developed breasts after doctors put him on anti-psychotic drug Risperdal as a teenager to treat autism spectrum disorder.

"Every pharmaceutical company needs to seriously consider if they want to litigate to verdict in the present environment, but with the settlement demands so incredibly high it's not always clear what their alternative is", said Barry Thompson, a partner at Baker McKenzie law firm who was not involved in the case.

While the drug can treat certain mental health disorders, Murray's lawyers charged that it also has a tendency to create a hormonal imbalance, with elevated levels of a hormone called prolactin.

Another judge later ruled that a jury could award those damages.

Johnson & Johnson is also among drugmakers named in lawsuits seeking to hold the pharmaceutical industry responsible for the nation's opioid crisis and in August was asked to pay $572.1 million to the state of Oklahoma for its role in fueling the epidemic.

A jury in 2015 awarded Mr Murray $1.75m after finding the company was negligent in failing to warn consumers of the risks.

Risperdal, accredited for the remedy of adults by the US Meals and Drug Administration in 1993, introduced in some $737 million (672 million euros) in gross sales in 2018.

Johnson & Johnson brought in almost $82 billion in revenue in 2018 for products like prescription drugs, medical devices, contact lenses and popular consumer brands like Tylenol, Motrin and Band-Aids.

Johnson & Johnson immediately denounced the award after the jury's decision in the court of common pleas, saying it was "excessive and unfounded" and vowing immediate action to overturn it.

The case, brought by Nicholas Murray, is one of 13,400 Risperdal-related lawsuits, according to J&J's latest SEC filings.

Latest News