Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay $8 billion in punitive damages in a case involving the way that the anti-psychotic drug Risperdal was marketed. Some male patients have argued that the drug caused them to grow large breasts and that the company downplayed this side effect when marketing the drug to doctors.
The $8 billion payouts, which could be lowered later, was decided by a jury in Philadelphia on Tuesday, based on a report from the newspaper. Compensatory damages towards Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, were already awarded in 2016 and were a comparatively small $680,000, based on the news.
Nicholas Murray, the plaintiff, started taking Risperdal in 2003 at the age of just nine-years-old to treat symptoms associated with autism. Murray allegedly grew breasts, and the lawsuit claimed that the full extent of the side effects wasn’t adequately disclosed to doctors. Murray’s legal team represents roughly 10,000 different clients who allege related things against Johnson & Johnson.
Johnson & Johnson didn’t reply to Gizmodo’s request for remark Wednesday morning, however, informed the newspaper that it could work to set aside the “excessive and unfounded verdict.”
Risperdal was approved by the FDA in 1993 to treat schizophrenia, was approved for bipolar disorder in 2003, and authorized to treat autism symptoms in 2006.