Johnson & Johnson must pay $8 billion in punitive damages to a man who previously won $680,000 over his claims that it failed to warn that young men using its antipsychotic drug Risperdal could grow breasts, a Philadelphia jury said on Tuesday. That whopping sum of money, which at least one legal expert says is likely to be reduced, is among thousands of similar cases against Johnson & Johnson regarding the drug.
A jury in 2015 awarded Murray $1.75 million after finding J&J was negligent in failing to warn of the risk of gynecomastia.
Murray's lawyers argued that Johnson & Johnson's subsidiary Janssen did not make him aware that the drug could lead to the development of female breast tissue.
Mr. Murray's lawyers, Thomas Kline and Jason Itkin, said in a statement that the jury "resoundingly told Johnson & Johnson that its actions were deliberate and malicious".
"We will be immediately moving to set aside this excessive and unfounded verdict", the company said in a statement.
The company accused the court of preventing the defense from presenting evidence about the drug Risperdal's labeling that "clearly and appropriately outlined the risks associated with the medicine" or the benefits for patients with serious mental illness.
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The drug was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1993.
Pictures reveal the breasts that one man claims he developed from taking the antipsychotic drug, Risperdal. Risperdal resulted in prolactin levels greater than other drugs in its class, according to the opinion, citing a study with a reported rate of gynecomastia in patients of about 2.3 percent.
The ruling marks another costly setback for Johnson & Johnson.
Johnson & Johnson is also among drugmakers named in lawsuits seeking to hold the pharmaceutical industry responsible for the nation's opioid crisis and in August was asked to pay $572.1 million to the state of Oklahoma for its role in fueling the epidemic.
Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $575m by Oklahoma earlier this year over the company's historic involvement in the opioid crisis and earlier this month it reached a $20.4m settlement in OH over similar cases. The company is appealing both decisions and denying those allegations. Last week, J&J said it agreed to pay $20.4 million to settle lawsuits filed by two OH counties alleging the company helped spark the opioid epidemic; the company didn't admit liability.
The Johnson & Johnson logo is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 29, 2019.