Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay more than $2.2 billion to settle federal charges that it improperly marketed Risperdal and other drugs. However, it remains to be seen how the resolution of the federal case will impact Risperdal lawsuit claims filed on behalf of man and boys who allegedly developed gynecomastia, or male breast growth, due to their use of the drug.
As part of the settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, Johnson & Johnson agreed to plead guilty to a criminal misdemeanor that it illegally marketed Risperdal for use in elderly dementia patients. However, according to The New York Times, it did not admit to wrongdoing in settling civil charges levied by the Justice Department that it improperly marketed the antipsychotic drug for use in children. The $2.2 billion settlement includes criminal fines and forfeiture of $485 million and civil penalties of $1.72 billion. The civil settlement also resolves similar accusations brought by 45 states, the Times said.
Among other things, the civil charges levied by federal prosecutors alleged that Johnson & Johnson marketed Risperdal for pediatric uses long before the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved such indications in 2006. They also alleged that the company knew that Risperdal posed serious risks to children, including an association with gynecomastia.
During a news conference to announce the settlement, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asserted that Johnson & Johnson had “recklessly put at risk the health of some of the most vulnerable members of our society — including young children, the elderly and the disabled.”
Dozens of lawsuits involving Risperdal gynecomastia allegations are now pending in courts around the country. Recently, 77 plaintiffs in such claims that had been filed in a consolidated litigation underway in Pennsylvania State Court in Philadelphia motioned the Court seeking to enforce an agreement they say was reached with Johnson & Johnson this past January to settle their Risperdal lawsuits.
According to the motion, Johnson & Johnson is threatening to walk away from the settlement agreement if it is not extended to claims plaintiffs have filed against certain third party defendants. But plaintiffs assert that Johnson & Johnson always knew the settlements would not extend to those defendants, and that the company had never raised the issue until recently.
If you or a loved one could be the victim of Risperdal gynecomastia, please consider contacting Bernstein Liebhard LLP today to learn more about your legal rights. Our legal staff can explain the qualifications for filing a Risperdal lawsuit and help you determine if you have a valid claim. To learn more, please call .