Johnson & Johnson Concealed Dangers of Risperdal
Risperdal is an antipsychotic medication approved by the FDA for the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and irritability related to Autism. Unfortunately, it seems that Johnson & Jonson- the drug’s manufacturer- has traditionally paid little to no attention to the FDA’s approved uses and instead encouraged medical providers across the country to prescribe Risperdal for non-approved uses. In fact, the federal government learned that Johnson & Johnson actually paid kickbacks to several doctors in exchange for the physician prescribing Risperdal, both for approved and unapproved uses- like treatment of dementia in the elderly. In 2010, Johnson & Johnson began paying boatloads of money to settle lawsuits brought by the government alleging dishonest and unfair business practices.
Since that time, federal authorities have also investigated other techniques utilized by Johnson & Johnson to market Risperdal. To date, multiple lawsuits have been filed against Johnson & Johnson by both the federal government and private citizens alleging the pharmaceutical giant intentionally downplayed serious risks associated with use of the medicine it its advertising campaigns. For the past two years, Johnson & Johnson has attempted to negotiate a settlement agreement with federal authorities concerning misleading promotional techniques. Now it appears such negotiations have hit a stalemate.
One of the biggest risks associated with use of Risperdal is an increase in prolactin within the body. Prolactin is responsible for breast growth and milk production in females following childbirth. The increase in prolactin often caused by Risperdal can cause a wide range of breast issues including abnormal lactation for women and gynecomastia (male breast growth) and even impotency in men. Other side effects associated with use of Risperdal tend to arise mostly from prescribing the drug for off-label uses. In elderly patients for example, the FDA discovered that patients prescribed the drug may cause up to a 1.7% increase in death resulting from health problems ranging from heart disease to pneumonia.
As a part of the settlement agreement, federal authorities want Johnson & Johnson to admit that they knew of the increase in prolactin and its associated dangers, and that they specifically under-marketed these dangers when advertising Risperdal. Johnsons & Johnson is reluctant to make such an admission however, as they are also facing litigation from private citizens who have actually experienced these side effects. If Johnson & Johnson admitted to federal authorities that they knew of the side effects and undersold the risks, the thousands of private citizens suing the company would be able to use such statements against Johnson & Johnson in their lawsuits as well. It is easy to see how such an admission of wrongdoing could end up costing Johnson & Johnson significantly. The Wall Street Journal reports that the federal litigation alone could cost the drug’s manufacturers upwards of $2 billion.
For more information on the dangerous side effects associated with use of Risperdal, of if you or someone you know has experienced side effects following use of the drug, contact the experienced bad drug attorneys at Dolman Law Group for a free consultation and case evaluation. 727-451-6900.
Dolman Law Group is a Clearwater based Florida personal injury law firm that only represents plaintiffs.