Illegal Marketing Strategies Used to Promote Risperdal and the Severe Adverse Effects that the Drug Has Caused
The oral drug Risperdal, the generic name of which is Risperidone, was introduced by Janssen-Cilag, a part of Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceuticals. It was developed to treat patients suffering from schizophrenia and bipolar disorders.
Though it is undeniable that Risperdal provided some benefits in treating the illnesses it was developed for, it also cannot be denied that the drug caused incidences of death or serious complications to patients, especially to elderly people afflicted with dementia.
Due to the millions of Americans suffering either from schizophrenia or fighting against the symptoms of bipolar disorder, Risperdal easily became a popular drug to treat the illnesses. Furthermore, the drug was prescribed for non-label uses (not approved by the FDA), treating other illnesses, such as stuttering, obsessive-compulsive disorders, behavioral disorders (in elders with dementia), attention deficit disorder (ADD) in children, Tourette syndrome, anxiety and depression.
In many cases, however, Risperdal was found to cause more (and severe) harm than provide benefit. In 2006, for instance, a study which appeared in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, said that prolonged use of Risperdal by male children and adolescents (or use at doses equal to those with psychotic symptoms) can result to gynecomastia – the development of breasts. At least 130 cases of these have already been recorded.
Due to gynecomastia and to so many other cases of adverse effects and fatalities, Johnson and Johnson is now facing hundreds of lawsuits. What’s worse, however, are the billion dollar lawsuits files by the US federal government and some states against Johnson and Johnson due to charges of healthcare fraud committed through concealment of Risperdal’s many side-effects (including growth of female breasts in males) and the illegal marketing strategy employed by the manufacturer in promoting the drug (the drug was marketed for use by children and elderly patients with dementia).
Majority of the personal lawsuits filed involve cases of gynecomastia, due to the severe psychological trauma many of those affected have gone through. While some breasts that have developed may be resolved through liposuction, other cases will just have to be remedied through the surgical procedure called mastectomy.