Johnson and Johnson must pay $8 billion to US man who grew breasts after taking anti-psychotic medicine

Johnson and Johnson must pay $8 billion to US man who grew breasts after taking anti-psychotic medicine
Photo credit: Getty

Drug company Johnson & Johnson have been ordered to pay out US$8 billion (NZ$12.7 billion) to a man who grew breasts after taking medication.

Nicholas Murray, a 26-year-old from Philadelphia, took anti-psychotic medication Risperdal when he was nine. Murray was prescribed Risperdal to treat symptoms related to autism spectrum disorder.

He said the drug led him to develop a condition known as gynecomastia which caused abnormal breast growth.

Murray's attorneys said US drug company Johnson & Johnson marketed the drug for children, despite the FDA approving it for the treatment of schizophrenia in adults in 1990. 

On Tuesday, a jury ruled the man was not warned about the side effects, and therefore should be paid punitive damages, reports the BBC.

His lawsuit is one of thousands, reports CBS.

"Johnson and Johnson and [subsidiary] chose billions over children," said lawyers Tom Kline and Jason Itkin in a statement to Reuters.

The company says it will appeal the ruling and is confident it will be overturned. It claims the court prevented its legal team from presenting "key evidence" about the drug.

In 2015, Murray was awarded US$680,000 (NZ$1.07 million) after it was found Johnson and Johnson were negligent for failing to warn of the risk of gynecomastia.

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