Johnson & Johnson told to pay $8bn to man over unwanted breast growth

  • Johnson & Johnson told to pay $8bn to man over unwanted breast growth

Johnson & Johnson told to pay $8bn to man over unwanted breast growth

On Tuesday, a Philadelphia jury ruled that the company and its subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, owe $8 billion in punitive damages to Murray, who is now 26.

Murray, like other male plaintiffs in the mass tort litigation over Risperdal, alleges that he developed breasts after being prescribed the medicine, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved in the 1990s only for treating schizophrenia in adults, when he was a minor. In his lawsuit, he has claimed that the company was aware of the risk of gynecomastia, but did not warn the doctors or the healthcare providers. Murray's lawyers are representing thousands of other people with similar claims against Johnson & Johnson.

In 2016, another Philadelphia jury awarded $70 million to Andrew Yount and his family, ruling that the company not only failed to warn Yount about the issues surrounding Risperdal but had destroyed evidence related to the case. It recently agreed to a $20.4m settlement with two counties in the USA state of OH over claims it fuelled the crisis there.

When ruling on appeals, judges often reduce jury punitive-damage awards.

Nicholas Murray, a 26-year-old who was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, made a decision to begin taking the antipsychotic shortly after his diagnosis.

A state appeals court upheld the verdict in past year, but reduced it to $680,000.

"We will be immediately moving to set aside this excessive and unfounded verdict", the company said in a statement.

"This award for a single plaintiff stands in stark contrast with the initial $680,000 compensatory award and is a clear violation of due process".

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.

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