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J&J payout for Risperdal lawsuit reduced to $6.8M from $8B

Johnson & Johnson will only have to pay $6.8 million in punitive damages instead of $8 billion for a lawsuit by a man who claimed that the company failed to provide adequate warnings on the risks of using its antipsychotic drug Risperdal, Reuters reported Jan. 17.

Risperdal, or risperidone, was approved in 1993 and is used to treat schizophrenia. The drug may also be used as a single therapy or in combination with other medicines to treat certain episodes related to bipolar disorder.

Judge Kenneth Powell of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas slashed the payout amount, awarded by a jury in October 2019, that would be given to Nicholas Murray, who said his use of Risperdal as a child caused gynecomastia, a condition that involves enlargement of the breast tissue.

The court did not give a reason for the reduction, Reuters noted. Both parties have committed to filing an appeal for the decision.

Murray's lawyer Thomas Kline told Reuters that the initial amount of the fine will be reinstated once the merits of the case are reviewed.

J&J said the judge was right to reduce the fine but claimed that he was wrong to exclude evidence that the antipsychotic drug's label noted the risks of use clearly and appropriately, Reuters reported.

In 2013, the New Brunswick, N.J.-based pharmaceutical giant agreed to pay $2.2 billion to settle criminal and civil investigations in the U.S. related to the marketing of Risperdal and two other drugs, according to the news outlet.

Reuters also noted that J&J faces lawsuits by 13,600 people relating to Risperdal.