In the 15th and final chapter of its series on Johnson & Johnson’s Risperdal (risperidone), the Huffington Post (10/2) “Highline” recounts how the jury in the Pledger case handed down its verdict Feb. 24, 2015, finding J&J was negligent by failing to provide an adequate warning about the risk of gynecomastia associated with Risperdal. The jury awarded $2.5 million to Austin Pledger. Meanwhile, J&J’s “latest SEC filing says there are 4,200 Risperdal claims on dockets across the country.” All in all, author Stephen Brill argues, the Risperdal scandal raises concerns about regulation of drug manufacturers. Indeed, the company’s misconduct “would have gone unchecked” if not for the work of plaintiffs lawyers who “trudged through millions of documents.” The FDA “didn’t do that work.” Meanwhile, the “recent push from the bench, emanating from the Supreme Court, to expand the First Amendment rights of corporations could upend the core principle that a regulatory agency like the FDA can stop drug companies from spending whatever it takes to put their spin on what their products can be used for.”
By Buck Daniel –
In the most recent legal defeat for Johnson & Johnson, the South Carolina Supreme Court affirmed a verdict against J & J under the Attorney General’s Unfair Trade Practices Act for “willfully failing to disclose known risks and side effects associated with Risperdal.” Though the original award of $256 million was reduced by the South Carolina Supreme Court award to $136 million, the amount still marks a devastating blow to Johnson & Johnson’s legal team in their legal battle.
In one of the largest health-care fraud lawsuits in U.S. history, J & J paid $2.2 billion in November 2013 to settle a Risperdal lawsuit brought by the United States Department of Justice. The settlement included civil recoveries of $1.72 billion under the federal False Claims Act and criminal penalties and forfeitures totaling $485 million. These amounts were not recovered on behalf of injured plaintiffs, but affirmed the type of fraud in these cases.
By Buck Daniel –
Currently, we are placing our focus on two litigation fronts for our Risperdal cases. In the Philadelphia litigation there are hundreds of cases pending, whereas the California litigation is in its beginning stages. California Superior Judge William Highberger, who is overseeing the cases, along with the newly appointed Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee have yet to shape pre-trial matters. We see advantages to each front, and plan to place each of our cases strategically in the best fit for the facts of that particular case. As we make these decisions, we will keep our clients fully informed of where their case will be filed and any developments within each group of cases.