A major jury award against J&J represents the risks of its legal strategy


(Reuters) – Jury Award hit Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) with $ 8 billion in punitive damages where a case involving Risperdal's anti-psychiatric drug, highlights the risks of an all-or-nothing law maker of the drug maker, some legal experts told Reuters on Wednesday.

The jury in Philadelphia court presented the $ 8 billion to a man who had previously won $ 680,000 on his claims that he had failed to warn that young men using Risperdal could grow breasts.

J&J asked that the sum was “very disproportionate to the first compensatory award” and said he was confident that it would be canceled.

Legal experts agreed that the penalty was likely to be imposed.

But the verdict, which helped drive J&J shares down 2% on Wednesday, is an example of how the public repentance of the pharmaceutical industry for high drug prices helped with sharper verdicts against drug makers. which has been charged in recent years, legal experts said.

External penalties awarded by a number of juries focus on the risks associated with long-term strategy by drug manufacturers such as J&J with regard to taking their chances at trial and then settling product liability arrangements determined by patients.

“All pharmaceutical companies must seriously consider if they wish to address a verdict in the current environment, but as the settlement requires very high, it is not always clear what the opposite is,” said Barry Thompson. a partner in Baker McKenzie's law firm was not involved in the case.

Drug manufacturers have often said that they prefer to do litigation rather than keep their brands protected and discourage patient procedures, says Thompson.

Companies can also use a series of real test trials to finally determine the size of any settlement that may be offered, such as Merck & Co (MRK.N) He made his drug with arthritis pain pulled back when patients had claimed injury from the drug before thousands of legal cases.

A decision of the Supreme Court in 2003 indicates that the maximum penalty penalty penalty for Risperdal was around $ 6 million based on the previous compensation award.

J&J could get favorable control of an appeal that would leverage the company to deal with the other cases, said Benjamin McMichael, professor at Alabama Law School who carried out research on punitive damage awards.

“With such a large award for punitive damages issued, courts of appeal could be more willing to reach the complainants hard,” said McMichael.

There are over 13,000 faces on J&J attached to Risperdal alleging that it has imposed a condition called gynecomastia in boys, where breast tissue will increase. The company is faced with jurisdictions involving children's powder, opioids, medical devices and other products.

“We are operating within a very strange environment, and we must be willing to go to trial when science, facts and law are on our side,” said J&J spokesman Ernie Knewitz in email.

“We must always be open to resolving cases by arrangement where appropriate and appropriate. We have a proven track record of successfully and appropriately managing this balance, ”said Knewitz.

The company has a share of legal winners, losses and settlements.

Oklahoma's judge ordered in August that J&J would pay $ 572.1 million to that state for his own part in fueling the opioid crisis through the marketing of addiction marketers, although the amount was much less than was expected by investors.

FILE FILE: The Johnson & Johnson logo is on screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, USA, 29 May, 2019. REUTERS / Brendan McDermid / File Photo

Johnson & Johnson has stated that he intends to appeal the ruling.

Earlier this month, the company agreed to pay $ 20.4 million to settle claims by two Ohio counties, avoiding a federal opioid trial.

In 2013, J&J paid more than $ 2.2 billion for civil and criminal investigations carried out by the US Department of Justice in its marketing of Risperdal and other drugs.

Tamara Mathias reporting in Bengaluru, Tom Hals and Carl O Donnell in New York and Julie Steenhuysen in Chicago; edited by Caroline Humer and Bill Berkrot

Our Standards:The principles of Thomson Reuters Trust.

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