Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries are being hit by a growing wave of lawsuits alleging the world’s largest health care company’s pharmaceuticals, medical devices and health care products cause serious injuries and deaths.
More than 100,000 people, including 18,500 men who claim they grew disfiguring female-like breasts after taking the antipsychotic Risperdal as adolescents, sued J&J in 2016 – an increase of about 28,3000 over the previous year. J&J disclosed that its litigation expenses to fight these claims jumped 480 percent in 2016 to a whopping $817 million.
Plaintiffs suing J&J and its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals over Risperdal side effects claim that the company withheld data that the antipsychotic could cause adolescent boys to develop breast tissue, a condition called gynecomastia. A single Risperdal trial last summer resulted in a $70 million verdict for the plaintiff.
About 17,000 people have filed lawsuits alleging J&J and Janssen’s blood thinner Xarelto, sold in partnership with Bayer, caused major bleeding events including gastrointestinal bleeds and brain hemorrhages, some of which have been fatal. The company is accused of not adequately warning doctors or patients of the Xarelto bleeding risks.
J&J faces the largest number of lawsuits over its transvaginal mesh implants, used to treat pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence. More than 54,000 women claim that the company’s vaginal mesh devices could erode through tissue and puncture organs, causing chronic pain, infections and additional surgeries to remove the mesh. Three thousand lawsuits are pending over claims that Johnson’s baby powder and other talc-containing products caused women to develop ovarian caner.
Despite the hefty verdicts against the company, J&J said in a recent securities filing that the legal proceedings were unlikely to have an impact on the company’s billion-dollar financial health, though the cost of resolving lawsuits could have a “material adverse effect” on some quarterly earnings.
Source: Financial Times