A jury awarded $70,000,000 to a boy who developed female breasts after taking a Johnson & Johnson drug. The drug is Risperdal. Risperdal causes changes in hormones, sometimes leading boys to develop female breasts. The breasts are often permanent and can only be reduced surgically. Throughout the trial, the jury listened to all of the facts presented by Johnson & Johnson and all of the facts presented by the boy’s family. As one can conclude from the verdict, the jury was dismayed and angry at the actions of Johnson & Johnson. The boy won the lawsuit.
Astoundingly, officials of Johnson & Johnson, even after the verdict, said the drug’s safety label contained proper warnings about its side effects, and that the jury got it wrong. Can any rational human being believe that the warnings were adequate when a jury who has heard all of the facts concludes that the warnings were inadequate, and not just inadequate, but so inadequate to be moved to award $70,000,000? Several different juries have now heard the facts relevant to whether Johnson & Johnson adequately warned of the side effects of Risperdal. Every jury who has heard the case has found that Johnson & Johnson did not properly warn. The juries believed plaintiffs’ argument that Johnson & Johnson hid the facts, didn’t tell the truth and minimized the risks.
Johnson and Johnson already agreed to pay 2.2 billion to settle a criminal and civil probe into whether it illegally marketed Risperdal to children and the elderly. Clearly the company has shown that it will engage in very bad behavior to make more money from Risperdal, and has had to pay the price. Now, individuals, most of them injured when they were young boys, are asking to be compensated by the company that injured them. The jury that awarded $70,000,000 believed that the company violated the law and should have to pay its victims in a big way.