Janssen Owes $70m to Boy who Grew Breasts after Risperdal

Kermit Cole
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A Philadelphia court found that Janssen Pharmaceuticals had illegally marketed its drug Risperdal to children, and that the drug had caused a teenage boy to grow breasts. The jury imposed a $70 million verdict against Janssen, the largest verdict of its kind so far. “The jury got angry at these people; they don’t take responsibility,” said Stephen Sheller, one of the boy’s lawyers.

From Philly.com:

A Philadelphia jury found Friday that the antipsychotic drug Risperdal caused a Tennessee boy to grow breasts, and imposed a $70 million verdict on its manufacturer, Janssen Pharmaceuticals.

Lawyers for the boy argued that scientists for the company were well aware of the risks and sought to downplay them. The company disputed that allegation during the Common Pleas Court trial and said that physicians were fully informed of potential side effects.

It was the fifth Risperdal lawsuit tried in Philadelphia, and by far the largest verdict so far. Earlier verdicts ranged from $500,000 to $2.2 million.

“The jury got angry at these people; they don’t take responsibility,” said Stephen Sheller, one of the boy’s lawyers.

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected]

16 COMMENTS

  1. I wonder what the drugs did to his brain? Can it be fixed as easily as removing (unwanted) breast tissue? I don’t think so. The brain made the hormone-chemicals necessary for breast growth.

    Psychiatry-medicine making people worse off than they were before the “treatment”.

    • I doubt it. They put him on this crap when he was FIVE, for behavior control, and he apparently started growing breasts a year later. So yeah, they took him off this particular toxin. But the parents, and doctor, that thought it was a good idea to put a five-year-old on an antipsychotic are not likely to scrap their notion that “medicating” his behavior is the appropriate reaction to it. Usually, they tell themselves that though that particular drug had a bad “side effect” they should stay the course and keep trying different psych drugs until they find the “right one.”

  2. I have been taking this medication at 4mg daily for 8 years. It stopped my periods and the two times I cut down they came back but were heavy and erratic.. The last time I tried to come off them completely at the advice of my psychiatrist I had a psychotic episode and was nearly hospitalised. I was initially prescribed it for racing thoughts and this episode was the first in my life. I am now back on the full dose.

    • starryeyesee,

      You suffered from what’s known as a drug withdrawal induced super sensitivity manic psychosis. It’s a known, but much medically denied, neuroleptic withdrawal effect. I do so hope, if it is your desire, you try coming off the drug again. But this time with an understanding that if you become psychotic, it is due to drug withdrawal, and this does not mean you can not eventually become drug free. I know, because I was weaned off the neuroleptics twice by doctors, and became manic / “psychotic” both times. But, the last time it did not result in more antipsychotics. That’s when I got better. And I’ve been manic / psychosis free since then, seven years now.

      I’m glad to see that at least a few of the actual victims of pharmaceutical fraud, rather than just governments, are seeing some compensation for the harm that the neuroleptics cause.

      Randall, $860,000,000,000, enough to bankrupt the makers of Risperdal? Which was the very drug that made me experience my very first “psychosis.” Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, it’s time to break up, or get rid of, the pharmaceutical companies / cartel. Kudos to that jury, “The jury got angry at these people; they don’t take responsibility,” so true.

  3. I leave in Quebec, province of Canda. I was prescribedRisperdal 2 mg. My company who i worked for, refer me to a private Psychiatric to treat me for ADDH, my lack of concentration was getting out of control, you can imagine my behaving on one of the most effective private jet assy line. In order to keep my job and pursue, a so call normal lifestyle, I agree to be analysed and treat with the company private specialist thinking was about my ADDH concern. The Physiatric meet twice. After my first meeting, he referred to a specialist Physician 2mg of Risperdal for a disease call Tourette Syndrome, a disease that i had never heard about before and i can’t still today recall any of the side effects concerning that disease. So a public Physician prescribed me Stratera (ADDH) and Risperdal 1mg 30 days and 2mg for 60 more days. After 3month my company refer me to a private Physician that followed me for 4 years, during those 4 years, i lost 60 Lbs of lean muscle my body weight went from 220Lbs to 345Lbs. I have been permanently castrated, i suffer from controlled lost of my bladder. My cholesterol went up to 9, triglyceride 9, diabetes of 8.9 on an empty stomach 12h, my testosterone to 0.09. I suffer from very high blood pressure and cardiometry ( high rhythm of hart). I also suffer from manny more permanent leisure to my body done by consuming 2mg (extra dosage to treat a possible but not diagnostic Tourette syndrome). My concern is since neither the Psychiatric (paid by employer) or the physician (refer by employer, paid by me with my money hardly earn after income tax.) is there any responsibility from those guys, i trusted them with my life, never they talk to me about possible risk of using this drug, never the psychiatric did a follow up, never the physician ask for a second expertise and with me progress toward death.

    • Where did they pull that diagnosis of Tourette syndrome from? I think you would know if you had such a syndrome because you’d be doing and saying a lot of certain things that would attract a lot of attention from other people. And why would you be given these toxic drugs for this even if you did have it? I’ve never heard of anyone who has this syndrome being given antipsychotics, but of course I may have missed something along the way somewhere and certainly don’t claim to know everything. Can you wean yourself slowly off of the drugs?

        • Obviously i don’t suffer from Tourette Syndrome, I believe at the time this guy was gonna change my life (AddH) and i trust him with my life. & years when by i was in the limb. 2Mg of Risperdal to start with and he never did a follow-up. I m now 49 years old and every day i hate to fight those permanent illness, I agree i m very intelligent that the reason why i still alive.

    • As far as I understand, your only recourse is to complain to the medical board in your area regarding a lack of informed consent. It is difficult to convince medical boards to do a whole lot, though, as they are made up of doctors and a lot of the things you are complaining of are kind of standard practice, and the docs on the board may do them as well. I wish there were something else that could be done, short of a class action lawsuit, which would require a lot of folks like you sharing notes and hiring an attorney to work for a piece of the settlement.

      It sucks, but at least you’re now enlightened and will never trust them again. Jerks!

      —- Steve

      • The problem is very sick, as i complained to my new physician, she started talking about some order pills, Seroquel. I flipped, they wanted my to intern carceral psychiatric hospital. of course i refused. You see, she told me oh: a medical treatment went bad with you. i can believe after the tax, I pay here in Quebec i m being treated like that. Am i left to myself with permanent illness to myself.