Update on Risperdal Linked to Diabetes

There have been about 500 lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson (J&J), regarding their popular antipsychotic drug Risperdal for bipolar disorders, schizophrenia and autism.  Many patients are facing a new diagnosis – diabetes, in addition to gynecomastic (abnormal breast growth in children and adults). It is anticipated that thousands more cases could be filed in the coming year, leading to a widespread settlement.

According to Bloomberg (January 2012), a witness testified that J&J, the maker of Risperdal, hid three studies from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) showing some patients using Risperdal developed diabetes, while at the same time saying the antipsychotic drug did not cause the disease. The first study in 1999 had researchers at J&J’s Janssen unit reporting about 50 percent of patients taking Risperdal in a study developed diabetes after one year on the drug.

That study determined Risperdal caused “medically serious weight gain” that led study subjects to develop diabetes.

Dr. Joseph Glenmullen, psychiatrist and Harvard Medical School instructor, testified on behalf of the state of Texas that filed a lawsuit over Janssen’s marketing of the drug. During the trial, Glenmullen said that Janssen salespeople were telling doctors that researchers concluded the drug did not cause diabetes. In 2011, a South Carolina judge ordered Janssen to pay more than $327 million in damages over its Risperdal marketing practices in that state.

Last month a judge in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas ruled that plaintiffs in the current Risperdal lawsuits could not be awarded punitive damages. And in another blow for plaintiffs, J&J has asked the judge to rule that the statute of limitations has run out on hundreds of claims filed against the Risperdal maker.

In its May 19 motion for summary judgment, Janssen Pharmaceuticals argued that plaintiffs were filing cases years and sometimes decades after they were aware of problems with the drug, and even long after they were aware of their own injuries.

Researchers have reported this year that Risperdal can cause children to develop type II diabetes at three times the normal rate. This puts them at risk for a lifetime of vision, hearing, skin and blood pressure issues.

“Based on the undisputed facts, Janssen respectfully requests that the court find that, for purposes of the statute of limitations, all plaintiffs were on inquiry notice of a potential connection between Risperdal use and gynecomastic no later than October 31, 2006,” Janssen wrote.

J&J has been fined more than $1.2 billion for alleged false marketing of Risperdal for uses not approved by the FDA and for failing to warn consumers that the drug was defective and dangerous.

However, Janssen has already settled approximately 80 lawsuits in Philadelphia and trials in a new set of cases are expected to begin in July, according to court records.

If you or a loved one has taken Risperdal and is now diagnosed with diabetes, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. For more information, contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).

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