Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) subsidiary Jansen Pharmaceutical has been cleared of any wrongdoing in a lawsuit challenging the risks associated with its antipsychotic drug Risperdal. A man had gone to court accusing the company of failing to provide warnings that the drug could cause male breast growths. A ruling on the lawsuit failed to award any damages meaning the pharmaceutical company is off the hook, for the moment.
The verdict was handed after a month long trial in a Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas according to Kline & Specter law firm lawyer, To Kline, who was representing William Cirba as the plaintiff in the case. Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) is however not off the hook completely as this was the second lawsuit in as many as 1,300 lawsuits that are still pending awaiting verdict. Last month Jansen was handed a $2.5 million fine in a similar case.
The Food and Drug Administration approved Risperdal in 2002 for treating schizophrenia but was not cleared for use in children until 2006. There have been accusations by plaintiff’s lawyers that Jansen promoted the drug for off-label use in elderly and children for a range of conditions including oppositional defiance disorder which Cirba was suffering from.
According Kline & Specter, Cirba had used Risperdal intermittently until 2007, which as a result caused him to develop gynecomastia, a hormonal imbalance that leads to breast growth in men and boys. Jansen had also been accused of failing to warn doctors of the risks associated with the use of the drug.
Despite losing the lawsuit, Kline & Specter affirms that a significant setback has already been inflicted on the company as doctors are expected to be cautious while prescribing the drug. In 2013 Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) and Jansen were forced to pay more than $2.2 billion to settle a civil and criminal investigations by the U.S Department of Justice, on practices related to the marketing of Risperdal and other drugs.