Deadly Drug Trial: $8 Million Verdict

Prescription Pills ImageA Los Angeles jury found a subsidiary of pharmaceutical giant, Johnson & Johnson responsible for the wrongful death of 25-year-old Leo Liu who died in a clinical trial of the dangerous anti-psychotic medication, Risperdal. Janssen Research and Development will pay the decedent’s mother $8 million in damages.

Liu, who lived in Los Angeles, suffered from schizophrenia and was under the care of a local psychiatrist who convinced him to take part in a human drug trial paid for by Janssen. Leo, who was not capable of giving consent because of his mental illness, agreed to be in a test trial.

In 2009, the psychiatrist ran a battery of tests on Leo that indicated abnormalities with his health. Instead of recognizing that Leo had a heart condition, Janssen employees ignored the warning signs and pushed forward and administered the drug. After injecting Leo with Risperdal, tests showed more abnormalities, however the Janssen physicians did nothing to intervene after Liu showed signs of medical distress.

Leo died of cardiac arrest several days after his first dose of the drug. Leo’s mother, Marion Liu sued Johnson & Johnson claiming the drug company uses the mentally ill for human experimentation in an effort to make money. Risperdal is a drug plagued with problems and its off label use has cost Johnson & Johnson billions of dollars in litigation fines. “This verdict proves that it’s high time for drugs companies that conduct research on human beings to put the health and safety of their subjects first and foremost,” said co-lead counsel Daniel Balaban.