J&J loses Supreme Court bid to overturn $70M Risperdal suit

May 18, 2021

The Supreme Court has shot down J&J’s efforts to overturn a $70 million verdict related to a patient’s off-label use of Risperdal.

J&J’s appeal attempt stems from a 2016 decision by the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, which ruled that the drugmaker failed to adequately warn a patient about the side effects triggered by Risperdal, which was approved in 1993 for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The patient in that case began taking the drug at age 4 and a year later, developed gynecomastia, a hormonal imbalance that can cause the swelling of breast tissue in boys and men.

J&J argued that it could not have warned about the side effect because the drug was not approved for pediatric use. But the Philadelphia jury disagreed and also found that the company had falsified and destroyed evidence related to the case.

The company lost an appeal attempt on the case in 2019 and has now also been rejected by the Supreme Court, who have declined to hear the case.

J&J and its Janssen Pharmaceuticals unit are still facing about 10,000 lawsuits related to Risperdal. In one of the cases, a jury awarded the plaintiff a whopping $8 billion — but the penalty was later decreased to $6.8 million.