In Philadelphia, the number of tort cases filed against pharmaceutical manufacturers has doubled during the last 12 months. At the beginning of 2017, there were 5,601 mass tort cases filed in Philadelphia that named a pharmaceutical company as a defendant. By December 31, 2017, that number skyrocketed to 10,395 – an 85.5% increase in these sorts of cases.
Risperdal Mass Tort Cases Rose 219%
Looking at the cases filed, litigation involving Risperdal, the numbers represent a staggering 219% increase. In January of 2017, there were 1,945 cases filed related to the drug. By mid-December, there were 6,200.
Why the Increase in Risperdal Mass Tort Cases?
Why was there such a jump in Risperdal mass tort cases in Philadelphia? It’s likely because Janssen Pharmaceutical, the manufacturer of Risperdal, ended a tolling agreement. Because of this, plaintiffs who believe that they have a mass tort case must file their claim before the statute of limitations has ran. Many of the filed lawsuits also involve an older type of Risperdal label. Many of the current plaintiffs list the older label.
The Superior Court also ruled that plaintiffs can ask for punitive damages. This may also be at least partially behind the current increase (and possible future increase) in Risperdal cases filed throughout Pennsylvania.
Nationwide Increase in Risperdal Cases
While the increase in Risperdal cases in Philadelphia may seem shocking, they reflect a current trend that is happening throughout the United States. Philadelphia broke another record in 2017 related to Risperdal mass tort cases. It had a record number of cases filed by out-of-state plaintiffs. The court began to measure the number of out-of-state plaintiffs in 2005. In 2017, the number of plaintiffs who do not reside in the state jumped by 90%.
What Is a Mass Tort Lawsuit?
A mass tort lawsuit is a single tort (in this instance, taking Risperdal as prescribed by their healthcare or mental health provider) that results in an injury to many victims. The group of plaintiffs sue one or more defendants. The lawsuit alleges that the defendant(s) acted in a negligent manner. The most common type of mass tort claim is a class action. However, general mass tort claims, such as those involving Risperdal, are often more complicated than class action cases. It can be more difficult to determine settlements and compensation because of the number of plaintiffs.
Plaintiffs who seek to file or join a mass tort lawsuit because they were hurt after taking Risperdal should seek out the representation of a qualified team of lawyers with verifiable experience.
Why Is Risperdal the Center of So Much Litigation?
Plaintiffs in Risperdal lawsuits allege that taking the drug as directed by their doctor or mental health care professional caused them serious injury. Risperdal (risperidone) is an anti-psychotic drug that was approved by the FDA in 1993. Then, it was approved as a treatment for adults with schizophrenia. In 2006 and 2007, the drug was approved for use in children with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder in both adults and children, and irritability and behavioral disorders related to autism in children.
Common injuries associated with Risperdal include gynecomastia, lactation, movement disorders, diabetes, and death:
- Gynecomastia is the development of breast tissue in males. It generally happens to children or adolescents. It’s often permanent and requires surgery by a reconstructive surgeon. When boys develop breast tissue, they suffer from the physical change and are often exposed to extreme emotional trauma.
- Young girls who are not of child-bearing age and women who are not pregnant have began lactating. Young girls may prematurely develop breast tissue. Even if the child stops taking the drug, the development is permanent. This can result in permanent emotional trauma.
- Movement disorders are also associated with the use of Risperdal. This includes restlessness, the inability to move or hesitational movement, tardive dyskinesia, tremors, and stiffening of the tongue that can result in difficulty breathing. Movement disorders are often permanent. Those affected may require additional medication to control these issues.
- Although the exact reason it happens isn’t known, using Risperdal is also associated with an increased risk of developing or worsening diabetes.
- Elderly patients with dementia face a special risk. The FDA now requires a Black Box warning regarding elderly patients and dementia. It is found that the elderly died or experienced serious health problems such as heart failure, pneumonia, and stroke.
Goldwater Law Firm
If you or someone you love was hurt after taking Risperdal, contact Goldwater Law Firm to schedule a free case consultation.