J&J hit by "excessive" $8 bln verdict

Excessive - That's what Wall Street analysts are calling the $8 billion - a jury ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay in punitive damages. The ruling involves a man who claimed the company failed to warn young men that they could grow breasts if they used the antipsychotic drug Risperdal.


Analysts point out that the plaintiff had already been awarded $680,000 in compensatory damages over his claims. And they note that the drug's label mentions breast growth as a side effect.


Analysts and legal experts say the punitive damages will likely be reduced on appeal. J&J called the award "grossly disproportionate with the initial compensatory award" and said it's confident it would be overturned.


J&J's shares fell in early trading Wednesday, reflecting investor fears of escalating litigation costs as the company battles more than 13,000 lawsuits tied to that drug. It's the latest setback in court for J&J. In August, the state of Oklahoma ordered it to pay $572 million for its role in fueling the opioid epidemic. Last year, a Missouri jury ordered it to pay $4.7 billion to 22 women who alleged its talc-based products caused them to develop ovarian cancer.