Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay $8 billion to a man who claims to have experienced breast growth after taking a drug manufactured by the company.
According to Reuters, a Philadelphia jury agreed that Johnson & Johnson failed to warn male patients about the risks of gynecomastia when marketing the antipsychotic drug Risperdal. Nicholas Murray, who was awarded the $8 billion in punitive damages, said he began developing enlarged breasts when he began taking the medication in 2003, after a psychologist diagnosed him with autism spectrum disorder.
Murray was awarded $1.75 million in compensatory damages in 2015, when a jury ruled that J&J did not adequately warn patients and physicians about Risperdal's side effects. The award was later reduced to $680,000 in February 2018; however, that sum did not include punitive damages.
"[The] jury told Johnson & Johnson that its actions were deliberate and malicious," Murray's lawyers, Tom Kline and Jason Itkin, told CNN following Tuesday's verdict. "The conduct that the jury saw in the courtroom, was clear and convincing that J&J disregarded the safety of the most vulnerable of children. This is an important moment, not only for this litigation, but for J&J, which is a company that has lost its way."
A representative for J&J called the $8 billion award "grossly disproportionate" and that "the company is confident it will be overturned."
"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," the rep said in a statement to CNN.