Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals is asking a judge to rule that the statute of limitations has run out for hundreds of lawsuits filed against the company for an embarrassing side effect of its antipsychotic drug Risperdal.
The lawsuits are part of a growing mass tort docket alleging Risperdal, also known as risperidone, caused gynecomastia, a condition in which boys and young men grow breasts. The condition can be painful and breasts can lactate. Treatment for gynecomastia often involves surgeries such as liposuction or mastectomy.
The Risperdal lawsuits claim the company promoted Risperdal for unapproved uses in adolescent boys while providing inadequate information to doctors about the risks associated with the drug.
Risperdal is approved to treat adults and children with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and irritability with autism. It is often prescribed for off-label uses including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), attention deficit disorder (ADD), anxiety and depression.
Janssen claims that some of the plaintiffs filed gynecomastia lawsuits years and even decades after they were made aware that their conditions were linked to Risperdal. The company is asking a Pennsylvania judge to “find that, for purposes of the statute of limitations, all plaintiffs were on inquiry notice of a potential connection between Risperdal use and gynecomastia no later than Oct. 31, 2006.”
Janssen has reached settlements in about 80 Rispideral lawsuits in Philadelphia, and is expected to go to trial for another set of cases in July.
Source: Law 360