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On July 1, a Philadelphia jury awarded the family of Andrew Yount$70 million in their case against Janssen Pharmaceutical, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.
Over the last 18 months, cases filed by children who were disfigured by the antipsychotic drug Risperdal have begun going before juries, with verdicts ranging between $500,000 and $2.2 million. This latest verdict, the 5th, at $70 million eclipses the others. The verdict could signal a trend of a higher verdicts yet to come against J&J.
All five juries have found that Johnson & Johnson failed to provide adequate warnings to patients and doctors about the risks associated with Risperdal.
The jury in the Yount case found that Johnson & Johnson intentionally falsified, concealed, or destroyed material evidence. During trial, evidence that became known in the case as “Tab 4,” was publicly revealed for the first time. Tab 4 includes scientific data showing a link between Risperdal and gynecomastia. The lawyers made a case that J&J intentionally kept Tab 4 secret- withholding it from the FDA and keeping it out of published scientific studies.
In 2012, Johnson & Johnson received a record $2.2 billion fine for criminally marketing their anti-psychotic drug Risperdal off-label. Risperdal has been found to cause gynecomastia in children—the development of breasts on male patients. As there are thousands of other cases awaiting trial, with tens of thousands of cases yet to be filed, the $70 million verdict clearly demonstrates that Johnson & Johnson faces a huge liability.
Jason Itkin from the Houston-based law firm of Arnold & Itkin LLP, served as Yount’s lead lawyer. Itkin said, “Johnson & Johnson has lost its way. They targeted the most vulnerable among us—children with disabilities—and they sold a drug that that they knew would cause kids to become disfigured. When their conduct was exposed, J&J went through great lengths to cover its tracks.”
Andrew’s father, Terry Yount, said, “We are glad that Andrew’s suffering now stands for something. We hope this verdict gives hope to the thousands of other boys who were disfigured by Risperdal that they will get justice too. We’re proud that a family from a little town in Tennessee was able to stand up against one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies and hold them accountable for the harm they have caused our son.”
Arnold & Itkin will be facing-off with lawyers from Johnson & Johnson in another Risperdal case in Philadelphiaon July 25. – PRNewswire.