The South Carolina Supreme Court ordered drug maker Johnson & Johnson to pay the state $136 million after upholding a jury’s findings that the company illegally promoted and concealed risks of the drug Risperdal, along with subsidiary and manufacturer Janssen Pharmaceuticals. The original penalty was $327 million, but the court reduced the penalty due to a state statute that says the penalty cannot be that high if the decision comes three years after the discovery of unlawful conduct. The state filed the lawsuit in 2007.
The illegal promoting of Risperdal lawsuit cited a lack of information on the drug’s warning label since 1994, as well as a 2003 letter to South Carolina physicians in which the company provided false information in order to increase prescriptions. Janssen and J&J face similar lawsuits in other states.
Risperdal is an antipsychotic drug used to treat bipolar disorder as well as symptoms of other disorders. Thousands of patients have filed Risperdal lawsuits after discovering the drug has been linked to an increased risk of gynecomastia, or breast tissue growth in boys and male adolescents.