Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay man $8bn over breast growth
US drug firm Johnson & Johnson has been told to pay $8bn (£6.6bn) in punitive damages to a man over claims he was not warned that an antipsychotic drug could lead to breast growth.
A Philadelphia jury made the award to Nicholas Murray, 26, whose case was one of thousands pending in the state.
His lawyers argued that J&J subsidiary Janssen put “profits over patients” in marketing the drug Risperdal.
J&J will appeal the ruling, which it said was “grossly disproportionate”.
The US giant is also facing court challenges over vaginal mesh implants and baby powder allegedly tainted with asbestos. That’s in addition to an ongoing legal battle over its role in the US opioid addiction crisis.
Earlier this year, the company was ordered to pay $572m for its part in fuelling Oklahoma’s opioid addiction crisis. It recently agreed to a $20.4m settlement with two counties in the US state of Ohio over claims it fuelled the crisis there.
The company’s mounting legal bills have caused concern among some investors, but its earnings have remained strong.
In Risperdal lawsuit said Mr Murray developed breasts after his doctors began prescribing him the drug in 2003. A psychologist prescribed the drug after diagnosing him with autism spectrum disorder.
Risperdal is approved for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but doctors can legally prescribe medicine for any condition they see fit.
The company said it is confident the ruling will be overturned, and said the court prevented their legal team from presenting “key evidence” on the drug’s labelling.
J&J is facing a series of complaints in state courts for failing to properly warn of Risperdal’s side effects, including in Pennsylvania, California and Missouri.
A jury in 2015 awarded Mr Murray $1.75m after finding the company was negligent in failing to warn consumers of the risks.
A state appeals court upheld the verdict in last year, but reduced it to $680,000.
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