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 Lawbreaker. Brill 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.