Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay $8 billion to man who 'deve
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A US jury has awarded $8bn in punitive damages against Johnson & Johnson and one if its subsidiaries over a drug that the plaintiff’s attorneys say is linked to the abnormal growth of female breast tissue in boys.

The case was brought by Nicholas Murray, 26, of Maryland, who “developed female breast tissue” after taking Risperdal when younger, according to court records.

Johnson & Johnson immediately denounced the award after the jury’s decision in the court of common pleas, saying it was “excessive and unfounded” and vowing immediate action to overturn it.

The antipsychotic drug Risperdal is at the center of the lawsuit, with the plaintiff’s attorneys arguing it is linked to abnormal growth of female breast tissue in boys, an incurable condition known as gynecomastia.

Johnson & Johnson used an organized scheme to make billions of dollars while illegally marketing and promoting the drug, the attorneys Tom Kline and Jason Itkin said in a statement.

Kline and Itkin said that Johnson & Johnson was “a corporation that valued profits over safety and profits over patients”. Thousands of lawsuits have been filed over the drug, but the attorneys said this was the first in which a jury decided whether to award punitive damages and came up with an amount.

Johnson & Johnson said in a statement on its website it was confident that the award would be overturned, calling it “grossly disproportionate” with the initial compensatory damage award and “a clear violation of due process”.

In 2015, Murray had won $680,000 in compensatory damages over his claims.
Johnson & Johnson said the court’s exclusion of key evidence left it unable to present a meaningful defense, including what the company said was a drug label that “clearly and appropriately outlined the risks associated with the medicine” or Risperdal’s benefits for patients with serious mental illness. They also said the plaintiff’s attorneys failed to present any evidence of actual harm.

Johnson & Johnson, based in New Jersey, had $15.3bn in net earnings in 2018.

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