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Jury Awards $70 Million to Boy Who Developed Breasts from Taking Risperdal

Andrew Yount of Tennessee developed breasts at the age of five from taking Risperdal, according to his lawyers. A 2012 study of Risperdal and its side effects found that autistic boys between the ages of 10 and 20 taking Risperdal were 14 percent more likely to have some type of sexual dysfunction. They were twice as likely to develop gynecomastia (non-cancerous increase of the male breast tissue). A Philadelphia jury ruled that Johnson & Johnson failed to adequately warn doctors of Risperdal's side effects and also deliberately falsified, concealed or destroyed evidence relating to the... 

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Andrew Yount of Tennessee developed breasts at the age of five from taking Risperdal, according to his lawyers. A 2012 study of Risperdal and its side effects found that autistic boys between the ages of 10 and 20 taking Risperdal were 14 percent more likely to have some type of sexual dysfunction. They were twice as likely to develop gynecomastia (non-cancerous increase of the male breast tissue). A Philadelphia jury ruled that Johnson & Johnson failed to adequately warn doctors of Risperdal's side effects and also deliberately falsified, concealed or destroyed evidence relating to the case.

Personal injury lawyer Tony Seaton says Johnson & Johnson's most recent quarterly report shows the company is currently facing more than 12,000 claims over Risperdal. He says there have been several other verdicts for plaintiffs in similar cases and this award is more than 20 times the next largest verdict of $2.5 million. There will be more cases going to trial. "These verdicts send a powerful message to drug companies and help prevent the pain and suffering of others by improving the way these companies market their products."

Lawyers for Andrew Yount's family said that from 1999 to 2005, Johnson & Johnson, along with Janssen, had promoted the use of Risperdal for treating dementia, ADHD, autism and behavior problems. This was before the FDA had approved its use for these conditions and while the companies knew of the associated risks.

The drug Risperdal is manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. It is an antipsychotic medication primarily used to treat bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anger and irritability in people with autism. It was approved for use in children in 2006. Johnson & Johnson paid over $2.2 billion in 2013 after being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department for how it marketed Risperdal.

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