Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay a massive $11 billion (US$8 billion) in damages to a man who said he developed breasts after being administered a drug manufactured by the company.
On Tuesday, October 8, a Philadelphia jury held the company guilty in a lawsuit filed by a Maryland man who said he was afflicted with gynecomastia, after taking J&J’s drug Risperdal.
The man said he took the drug, which is used to treat schizophrenia and other similar ailments, from 2003 to 2008. He said the usage of the drug led to the development of gynecomastia, a condition that leads to the growth of breasts. Risperdal is also used treat conditions like bipolar disorder and irritability caused by autism.
A Johnson & Johnson spokesman said the company hopes the “grossly disproportionate” award will be overturned. “This award for a single plaintiff stands in stark contrast with the initial $680,000 compensatory award and is a clear violation of due process,” the spokesperson said, according to Forbes.
“United States Supreme Court precedent dictates that punitive damages awards that are a double-digit multiplier of the compensatory award should be set aside,” the spokesman added.
After the verdict on punitive damages came, J&J shares dropped 1.75 percent in after hours trading.
The complainant, identified as Nicholas Murray, was given the drug when he was a child. He was awarded $680,000 in 2015 but the jury had stated that it did not include punitive damages. Johnson & Johnson has said the punitive damages slapped on it is grossly disproportionate to the original award.
AFP has reported that Risperdal has brought in US$737 million in sales in 2018 alone.