Austin Pledger, a 20-year-old autistic man in Alabama, has won a $2.5 million dollar lawsuit after an antipsychotic drug caused him to grow 46DD breasts. The suit was won as a result of doctors not warning Pledger of the potential side effect of taking the prescription drug.
The case took place in a Philadelphia court last Tuesday (Feb. 24) and was one of over a thousand such cases against Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals subsidiary that manufactures Risperdal, the drug in question regarding Pledger’s case. A Common Pleas jury sided with Pledger in stating that he was not “adequately warned” that his breasts would grow.
The Philadelphia Daily News has more:
A spokeswoman for Janssen, located in Titusville, N.J., said the firm is “disappointed” and “believes this verdict should be overturned,” claiming that Risperdal’s side effects were clearly communicated to Pledger, his family and the prescribing doctor.
Pledger, a native of Thorsby, Ala., was first prescribed the drug in 2002 by his family physician, Kline said.
At the time, Risperdal was not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in children – Pledger, who has autism, was 8 years old when the prescription was written – and its label reported that the risk of gynecomastia, a condition that causes men to grow female breasts, was low, according to Kline.
However, in 2006, the FDA approved Risperdal’s use as a schizophrenic aid for children and issued new label information that said the drug contained high levels of prolactin, a hormone that promotes breast growth, Kline said.
Thomas Kline, Pledger’s lawyer, stated that the public nature of the case is important as it exposes the risks of using Risperdal. Janssen maintains its side warned the family about the risks of the drug and added that Pledger’s quality of life improved under its treatment. Pledger still has breasts as a result of Risperdal, which can only be removed by a mastectomy.