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Billions of Dollars Paid to Settle Cases Involving Use of the Drug Risperdal

Published on Oct 14, 2015 at 5:16 am in Dangerous Drugs.

Johnson & Johnson recently paid $2.2 billion to settle a decade-long investigation into the company’s illegal promotion of the drug Risperdal.  The settlement was split between the federal government and multiple states and was the largest of its kind in U.S. history.  The company also failed to disclose certain possible health risks from taking the drug, leading to millions of dollars in private settlements paid to individuals who experienced severe side effects.

Risperdal, the name used for the drug risperidone, is an antipsychotic medication prescribed to treat patients with schizophrenia and certain problems caused by bipolar disorder.  Johnson & Johnson aggressively marketed the drug from 1999-2005 for use in elderly patients with dementia and children with disabilities, despite not receiving approval for childhood use until 2006.  The government investigations revealed that Johnson & Johnson offered sales representatives incentives to promote unapproved uses to doctors, paid kickbacks to nursing home pharmacies, and offered doctors trips and monetary reward if they prescribed Risperdal to more patients.  Onmicare, the leading long term care pharmacy in the U.S., paid $98 million to settle charges that it received compensation for pushing physicians to prescribe Risperdal to nursing home patients.

In the first personal injury lawsuit to go to trial, a 21-year-old male claimed that Risperdal caused him to develop gynecomastia, a condition were boys or men experience swelling of the breast tissue, caused by an imbalance of the hormones estrogen and testosterone.  He was prescribed Risperdal at age 9 even though it was not approved for use by children at the time.  He claimed the drug caused pain, rapid weight gain, damage to his endocrine system, and emotional trauma.  Johnson & Johnson agreed to settle his case on the first day of trial, and later that same month paid settlements in five other personal injury cases involving Risperdal.  Under the agreements, the settlement amounts for each case were kept confidential and Johnson & Johnson was not required to admit any wrongdoing.  The company continues to deny liability for Risperdal injuries.

In an attempt to expose potential conflicts of interest in healthcare, the Affordable Care Act requires full disclosure of financial relationships between drug makers and physicians.  Patients who develop gynecomastia following Risperdal use continue to seek compensation for physical and emotional injuries.  Settlements typically include financial compensation, medical treatment, and counseling services.

If you wish to learn more about legal options available to those affected by the use of Risperdal or other dangerous and defective drugs, contact the Louisville, Kentucky personal injury lawyers at Thomas Law Offices for more information.

First Risperdal Trial Starts In Mass Tort Action

Published on Feb 25, 2015 at 12:32 am in Dangerous Drugs.

Whether the drug makers failed to properly warn doctors and the public about the side effects of Risperdal is the issue being litigated in Philadelphia this winter. Over 1200 cases have been consolidated in a mass tort action filed there, and the first case began in late January.

Risperdal is an antipsychotic drug made by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, which is a subsidiary company of Johnson & Johnson. Johnson & Johnson has already been fined billions of dollars in a settlement for charges that the company illegally marketed Risperdal. In a joint investigation with the U.S. Department of Justice and several states, the government found that the makers aggressively marketed doctors to prescribe Risperdal for unapproved uses, specifically for children with disabilities and the elderly with dementia.

The first case being tried in Philadelphia involves a 20 year-old male who is autistic. He took Risperdal when he was 8 years-old and later developed “large female breasts.” The growths appear to be permanent, with the only way to remove them being a mastectomy.

Petrochemical Industry Hiding Benzene Dangers

Published on Feb 4, 2015 at 10:57 am in Dangerous Drugs.

The petrochemical industry has spent at least $36 million to fund scientific research trying to minimize the dangers of benzene. This effort comes after independent studies have linked benzene to leukemia and other cancers.  In 2004, the National Cancer Institute reported a study finding there’s no safe exposure level for people working with benzene.

Exposure dangers

Workers in the petrochemical industry have been among the most exposed to benzene and its effects. Benzene is a component of crude oil, and is used to make plastics, lubricants, dyes, pesticides, and adhesives. Over the last 10 years, lawsuits have been filed on behalf of workers who were sickened or died from benzene-related exposure, yet the industry is still trying to debate whether benzene is causing these rare cancers and other illnesses.

Drug Makers Pay Government Billions For Fraud

Published on Nov 17, 2014 at 8:31 am in Dangerous Drugs.

Some of the largest pharmaceutical companies, the household names who make many of the drugs we take, have agreed to billion dollar settlements with the U.S. Department of Justice to avoid civil and criminal litigation. The charges include fraudulent marketing practices – a big part of which has been promoting drugs for uses not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The charges have also included financial payouts to doctors and pharmacists to prescribe or sell their drugs, manufacturing practices that can contaminate the medicines, and using unreliable scientific data to win FDA approval.

Here are highlights of some recent large settlements:

Another Verdict Against Actos

Published on Oct 24, 2014 at 8:12 am in Dangerous Drugs.

Kentucky Pharmaceutical AttorneyA state jury in Pennsylvania has ordered Takeda Pharmaceuticals to pay a woman more than $2 million who claimed the company’s diabetes drug, Actos, gave her bladder cancer.

The plaintiff is a 79-year-old retired accountant. She is the seventh Actos patient to bring her case to trial.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration approved the use of Actos in 1999 to treat Type 2 diabetes. In 2011, the FDA warned that the use of Actos for more than one year may be linked to bladder cancer. In fact, long-term studies had shown that Actos use for more than one year increased a patient’s chances of getting cancer by as much as 40 percent.