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Risperdal: The Tragic Consequences of Aggressive Drug Marketing

Risperdal: The Tragic Consequences of Aggressive Drug Marketing

I need to pause for a moment in discussing artificial hip litigation and draw your attention to a shocking series of articles on the Johnson & Johnson drug, Risperdal.  Steven Brill has written a compelling series titled America’s Most Admired LawbreakerBrill makes the argument that Johnson & Johnson pushed the prescription drug Risperdal onto the elderly and children, for all manner of unapproved uses, with devastating results.  The series began yesterday on Huffington Post and can be found here.

Risperdal is an anti-psychotic drug that was first approved for use in 1993 to manage the symptoms of schizophrenia.  In the years that followed, Johnson & Johnson pressed for FDA approval to treat other conditions, such as bipolar disorder and autism, and to permit use in children.  More recently, Risperdal has been prescribed for adults and children to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression.  Treating these conditions using Risperdal is considered “off label” use, which is the use of a drug in a manner unapproved by the FDA.  Off-label use could be using the drug to treat a condition which is not authorized by the FDA, or prescribing the drug to an unapproved age group.

Tragically, Risperdal has had horrific side effects in some cases, particularly in children.  Among other symptoms, Risperdal can cause the growth of breasts in male children, a condition known as gynecomastia.

Johnson & Johnson has settled thousands of cases related to injuries following the use of Risperdal.  J&J has paid nearly three billion dollars in settlements, jury verdicts, and civil penalties related to the use of the drug.  And the cases continue to be filed.

So check out America’s Most Admired Lawbreaker for more information on the history, marketing, and aggressive promotion of the drug Risperdal.  It is a fascinating account of a tragic chapter in American medical history.

Steven Brill is an attorney and an advocate for persons injured by big corporations like Johnson & Johnson.  So far I believe his reporting in these articles is sound, but plainly, Johnson & Johnson will argue that he is not being fair to their position in the Risperdal litigation.  However, it’s worth noting that Johnson & Johnson would not cooperate with Brill for the series.  And in any event, in my view, large corporations can always take care of themselves; they have huge public relations teams, and access to dozens of commercial litigators, and enormous sums of money to defend themselves and to establish their own version of events.  Children like Austin Pledger, who grew size 46DD breasts after taking Risperdal, often do not legal teams and great wealth to shield them from the bad acts of corporations.

So read the articles and let me know what you think.  Of course, if you or your children have taken Risperdal and have suffered bad side effects, you can always call my office for further information and a case analysis.