Thursday, April 17, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Johnson & Johnson settles on first day of Philly Risperdal trial

Stopping a trial that was about to begin, Monday morning in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, Johnson & Johnson's Janssen Pharmaceuticals subsidiary settled a lawsuit with a Texas man who said he grew breasts as a child after being given the antipsychotic drug Risperdal.

Johnson & Johnson settles on first day of Philly Risperdal trial

A jury was picked and the trial was about to begin Monday morning in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court when Johnson & Johnson's Janssen Pharmaceuticals subsidiary settled a lawsuit with a Texas man who said he grew breasts as a child after being prescribed the antipsychotic drug Risperdal.

Attorneys in the case told Judge George W. Overton that the financial settlement was confidential. Plaintiff Aron Banks told the judge he agreed to the deal.

Banks, 21, declined comment afterward.

The settlement came as the judge was about to decide whether J&J chief executive officer Alex Gorsky would be compelled to testify during the trial.

This was the first of dozens of individual plaintiff cases involving Risperdal that Philadelphia attorney Stephen Sheller and his firm are involved in. Sheller said Banks was prescribed Risperdal from 1999 through 2004 - ages 9 through 13 - when it was not approved by the FDA for use with children. Sheller said Banks grew breasts large enough that he required surgery that involved suctioning fatty material from the breast.

Drinker Biddle attorney Kenneth Murphy, who was leading the legal team representing J&J in this case, declined comment afterward.

A global health-care giant based in New Brunswick, N.J., J&J is fighting legal battles on several fronts over its marketing practices related to Risperdal.

The company has suffered defeats in state cases brought by Texas, Arkansas, South Carolina and Louisiana, though the company said it is appealing all but the Texas case. In the Texas case, J&J stopped a trial for a payment of $158 million. In those cases, the J&J was accused of inappropriate marketing of Risperdal through the state Medicaid programs.

Meanwhile, the company is negotiating with the federal government over allegations related to off-label marketing and payoffs to a nursing home pharmacy company. That penalty could exceed $2 billion.

 

David Sell
About this blog
David Sell blogs about the region's pharmaceutical industry. Follow him on Facebook.

For Inquirer.com. Portions of this blog may also be found in the Inquirer's Sunday Health Section.

Reach David at dsell@phillynews.com.

David Sell
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