J&J Comments on $8-Billion Verdict in Risperdal Litigation

By Emily Forster -

October 10, 2019

A jury has issued a verdict to award punitive damages of $8 billion against Johnson & Johnson (J&J) relating to litigation involving Risperdal (risperidone), an antipsychotic drug used to treat certain mental/mood disorders, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and irritability associated with autistic disorder.

The award of punitive damages from the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas follows a compensatory award of $680,000 given to a plaintiff who took Risperdal as a child and said it caused enlarged breasts and that the company failed to properly warn of this risk.

“This award is grossly disproportionate with the initial compensatory award in this case, and the Company is confident it will be overturned,” said J&J in an October 8, 2019 company statement. “This award for a single plaintiff stands in stark contrast with the initial $680,000 compensatory award and is a clear violation of due process. United States Supreme Court precedent dictates that punitive damages awards that are a double-digit multiplier of the compensatory award should be set aside."

In its statement, J&J emphasized that the risks of the drug were specified in the drug’s labeling and the jury was not provided such information. “The Company was precluded from presenting a meaningful defense due to the Court’s exclusion of key evidence,” said J&J in its statement. “As a result, the jury did not hear evidence as to how the label for Risperdal clearly and appropriately outlined the risks associated with the medicine, or the benefits Risperdal provides to patients with serious mental illness. Further, the plaintiff’s attorneys failed to present any evidence that the plaintiff was actually harmed by the alleged conduct.”

The company added that “this decision is inconsistent with multiple determinations outside of Philadelphia regarding the adequacy of the Risperdal labeling, the medicine’s efficacy, and findings in support of the Company,” said J&J in its statement.

“We will be immediately moving to set aside this excessive and unfounded verdict,” the company said in its statement.

Source: Johnson & Johnson