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Court ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a man $8bn over breast growth

Court ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a man $8bn over breast growth
Highlights

Mr Murray said Johnson & Johnson failed to warn about the side effects and risk of gynecomastia, the development of enlarged breasts in males.

A Philadelphia jury made the award to Nicholas Murray, 26, whose case was one of the thousands pending in the state.

His lawyers argued that J&J and its subsidiary Janssen chose "profits over patients" wrongly marketed of the drug Risperdal, which was prescribed by his doctor in 2003 when he was a child.

The drug was used for treating schizophrenia and episodes of bipolar mania in adults by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1993.

Mr Murray said J&J failed to warn about the side effects and risk of gynecomastia, the development of enlarged breasts in males.

The $8bn award was on top of initial compensation of $680,000 (£557,000) handed over in the case.

Mr Murray's lawyers said in a statement: "This jury, as have other juries in other litigations, once again imposed punitive damages on a corporation that valued profits over safety and profits over patients.

"Johnson & Johnson and Janssen chose billions over children."

J&J said the award was "grossly disproportionate" with the initial compensation in the case, adding it was "confident it will be overturned" on appeal as jurors had been prevented from hearing evidence of Risperdal's benefits.

This is not the first time that this US company generally get high profile cases over the wellbeing of people using its products.

Courts across the US have rubber-stamped pay-outs worth £40bn to date to people who claimed asbestos, in Johnson & Johnson baby powder for decades, was responsible for their cancers.

Professor Carl Tobias, of the University Of Richmond School Of Law, told Reuters news agency he expected the punitive damages awarded to Mr Murray by jury member to be reduced on appeal.

He mentioned a US Supreme Court decision which found that "few awards exceeding a single-digit ratio between punitive and compensatory damages, to a significant degree, will satisfy due process."

He added that the verdict could be a sign that J&J will face more large damages awards in other Risperdal cases.

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