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Judge slashes $8 billion Risperdal award against J&J to $6.8 million

Johnson & Johnson hit with $8B verdict
Johnson & Johnson hit with $8B verdict over drug linked to boy growing breasts 01:51

A judge on Friday took an axe to a legal award against Johnson & Johnson — chopping the settlement from $8 billion to $6.8 million — in the case of a man who said the company failed to warn consumers that its antipsychotic drug Risperdal could cause boys to grow breasts.

Judge Kenneth Powell of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas slashed the original punitive damages award, which came in October after a jury found that Johnson & Johnson hadn't properly notified 26-year-old Nicholas Murray of the drug's side effects, Reuters reported. 

Murray is among thousands of plaintiffs who claim that taking Risperdal as children caused them to develop an incurable condition called gynecomastia. The $8 billion award against Johnson & Johnson had been the largest to date.

Johnson & Johnson claims it appropriately warned consumers about the risks associated with its drug, also known as risperidone. 

Both sides pledged to appeal the ruling, according to Reuters. 

"While the court has appropriately reduced the excessive punitive damages award, we will continue to move ahead with an appeal of this verdict," J&J told CBS News in a statement. "The company was precluded from presenting a meaningful defense due to the court's exclusion of key evidence. As a result, vital evidence as to how the label for Risperdal clearly and appropriately outlined the benefits and risks associated with the medicine was not presented to the jury for their consideration as they deliberated on the case."

Risperdal is a U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved drug used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar mania in adults and autism-linked irritability in children.

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