Product News and Recalls

J&J settles lawsuits over harmed patients

Johnson & Johnson has agreed to settle five lawsuits in Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, based on claims that its antipsychotic drug Risperdal caused five boys to grown breast tissue.

Terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed, Bloomberg reports.

The lawsuits are among more than 400 in which J&J and its Janssen unit were accused of injuries caused by Risperdal. More than 100 of those suits involve claims that the drug caused young males to grow breasts.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs allege that the company illegally marketed Risperdal for children, while concealing the fact that it could increase hormone levels that prompted breast development in males.

This isn’t the first time that Johnson and Johnson has faced accusations of concealing the fact that its products are harmful to patients.

In 2010, Johnson & Johnson recalled all-metal hip implants manufactured by subsidiary DePuy Orthopaedics after studies showed that nearly half failed prematurely and required recipients to get additional surgery. Internal documents indicated that the company continued to sell the hip implants despite being aware of the problems they were causing.

The company also marketed transvaginal mesh devices, used to treat urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, despite an FDA order to stop. It finally recalled them after thousands of complaints of device failure and injury.

Earlier this year, J&J officials reached an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department to resolve probes of its sales of drugs, including Risperdal. The settlement amount, while undisclosed, is reportedly as high as $2 billion.

Also this year, the company agreed to pay $181 million to resolve claims by 36 states that it improperly marketed and advertised Risperdal and Invega, another antipsychotic.

Under federal law, physicians can prescribe drugs for any condition. But drug companies are not permitted to market drugs for any uses other than those specifically permitted by the FDA.

J&J allegedly promoted Risperdal and other medications through tactics that included bribing doctors with golf outings and fees for speaking engagements.

If you’ve received a DePuy hip or transvaginal mesh implant, you should consult with a doctor if you have any ongoing symptoms or health concerns. If you have significant injuries from either device, you should also consult with a lawyer familiar with the DePuy hip implant or transvaginal mesh case to discuss your legal rights.

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http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-10-04/johnson-and-johnson-agrees-to-settle-five-rispersal-suits