Product News and Recalls

J&J CEO gets out of testifying in trial

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that lawyers representing pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson successfully quashed a subpoena to compel CEO Alex Gorsky to testify about allegations that inappropriate marketing harmed children taking the company’s drugs.

The case involves a 17-year-old boy whose family sued the company because he grew breasts after taking J&J antipsychotic drug Risperdal.

It’s the second of a string of Risperdal trials. The first one concerned a 21-year-old man prescribed Risperdal as a child, who needed a double mastectomy in which tissue was suctioned out of his breasts. In that case, the company settled with the plaintiff rather than risk having the judge rule that Gorsky must testify.

J&J has faced a number of high-profile legal challenges based on allegations that the company improperly marketed unsafe products.

Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Orthopaedics division was obliged to recall a line of all-metal hip implants – with both a ball and socket coated in a cobalt and chromium alloy — in 2010 after nearly half of the patients who received them had to get them replaced within six years. Patients who received the implants also experienced toxic metal debris breaking off and getting in their bodies.

Johnson & Johnson also recently recalled four different types of transvaginal mesh implants, used to treat urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, following widespread complaints that they caused severe pain and injuries for recipients.

Lawyers representing J&J in the Risperdal case said in a motion that Gorsky was scheduled to be in Asia on business. But according to the Inquirer: “ the company clearly wanted to avoid having its CEO called to the stand to answer – publicly, under oath – allegations of inappropriate marketing of the drug to children and harmful side effects.”

According to the story, J&J faces hundreds of individual suits over Risperdal. Several states — including Louisiana, South Carolina and Arkansas — won big money in lawsuits alleging that the company promoted drugs illegally through taxpayer-funded Medicaid plans.

In 2007, the Inquirer says, J&J made $4.7 billion on antipsychotic drugs. Most of those drugs were varieties of Risperdal.

You should consult with a doctor if you have any ongoing symptoms or health concerns from a Johnson & Johnson product. If you have significant injuries, you should also consult with a DePuy hip or transvaginal mesh lawyer to discuss your legal rights.

See the story here: