An attorney says thousands of men suffered side effects from taking the drug Risperdal. Johnson & Johnson officials defend the medication.
A lawsuit is expected to be filed soon on behalf of men who have used the drug Risperdal.
The plaintiffs say the drug, used to treat conditions such as anxiety and bipolar disorder, caused them to grow breasts, according to a report on CNN.
The men say the side effect was not disclosed in a timely manner by the drug company, Johnson & Johnson.
They will be asking for unspecified damages.
Johnson & Johnson officials did not respond to Healthline’s request for comment. Company officials told CNN in a statement on behalf of its subsidiary, Janssen, that Risperdal is a useful medication “essential to helping those affected by mental illness. … Physicians decide how best to treat their patients.”
One of the lawsuit’s plaintiffs, Eddie Bible, told CNN he started taking Risperdal more than a decade ago as an adolescent.
He said when he was 13 he developed gynecomastia, a condition that causes teen boys and men to grow breast tissue.
Bible said he was humiliated. He said he stopped playing outside with friends and was ridiculed in gym class.
“If I knew what the side effects would be of the medication, I would have never taken it,” he told CNN.
Jason Itkin, the attorney representing Bible, didn’t respond to Healthline’s request for an interview.
He did tell CNN there are 13,000 other people who “were injured by the drug.”
Itkin said Johnson & Johnson executives made a “conscious decision” after putting Risperdal on the market in 1994 to withhold the information about the side effects.
Risperdal has had a history of success and controversy.
In November 2013, federal officials announced that Johnson & Johnson and three subsidiaries had agreed to pay more than $2 billion in fines and penalties for prescribing and promoting Risperdal, Invega, Natrecor, and other products.
There have also been more than 1,000 lawsuits filed in the Philadelphia area over Risperdal. In at least three cases juries have awarded damages to the plaintiffs.
In October, a Philadelphia judge granted a summary judgment in Johnson & Johnson’s favor in a lawsuit related to Risperdal, according to the CNN report.
Another case, scheduled to start in late October, was settled outside of court.
Itkin told CNN he wants plaintiffs to be financially compensated, but he also wants Johnson & Johnson to “find its way back” and start helping people again.
Johnson & Johnson officials told CNN that Risperdal has helped millions of people and will continue to help more.
“Risperdal is a safe and effective medication that has helped millions of people live better lives for more than two decades,” company officials said.