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Mississippi Supreme Court Throws Out $2 Million Risperdal Verdict

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On October 19, the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed the judgment of a lower court against Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, over a movement disorder allegedly caused by the antipsychotic medication Risperdal.

The court based its decision on its belief that the drug’s label sufficiently warned consumers about the drug’s associated risks, including tardive dyskinesia, a movement disorder that may take months, years, or even decades to manifest after taking antipsychotic medication. The symptoms of tardive dyskinesia include random movements of the tongue, lips, jaws, arms, legs, fingers, toes, and various muscles. In severe cases, swaying movements of the trunk or hips or muscles associated with breathing may also be present.

Failure to Warn Claim Reversed

The plaintiff in the Mississippi case was prescribed Risperdal in 1999 to treat severe depression and psychosis. After her dosage was increased multiple times, she developed tardive dyskinesia in 2001 and alleged in 2002 that her use of Risperdal led to the condition. In 2014, a jury determined that the plaintiff’s injuries were due to Janssen’s failure to provide adequate warnings on the medication label and the company’s negligent misrepresentation of the drug, and she was awarded $650,000 in economic damages and $1.3 million in noneconomic damages.

But the High Court reversed the decision last week, ruling that the Risperdal label clearly warned physicians that tardive dyskinesia is a potential side effect of the medication, and also granted Janssen a new trial over the negligent misrepresentation claim.

What is Risperdal?

Risperdal (risperidone) is an anti-psychotic drug first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1993 to treat adults with schizophrenia. Beginning in 2006, the FDA approved additional uses for Risperdal, including the treatment of bipolar disorder in adults and adolescents, schizophrenia in children, and for certain behavioral indications in autistic children.

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