Fierce Pharma reports: “Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) is fighting more than 1,500 legal claims that its antipsychotic Risperdal triggered breast development in boys, and the company has landed on the wrong side of a jury verdict in several of them so far. The same thing happened Friday in a Philadelphia court. The difference, this time, is that the jury smacked J&J with a $70 million damages award–many times larger than previous awards in similar cases.”
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In the first of these cases to go to trial, a jury handed $2.5 million to the plaintiff, a teenager who had developed 46DD breasts after taking Risperdal. Another verdict, last November, included $1.75 million in damages.
First-to-trial “bellwether” cases are closely watched as indicators of a potential settlement–or lack of one. Because of its size, this latest verdict could increase the pressure on J&J to come to an agreement with the rest of the plaintiffs.
But J&J, for its part, says it will challenge the award.
“We believe this verdict is not justified by the evidence, and that the award is clearly excessive and far out of line with any factual assessment of actual damages,” Janssen, the J&J subsidiary that makes Risperdal, said in an emailed statement.