A multidistrict litigation (MDL) has been established for nearly 200 lawsuits filed against Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. the makers of Abilify, reports the Daily Hornet. The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation centralized the Abilify MDL in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District for Florida with Judge M. Casey Rodgers presiding.
Beasley Allen previously noted that the top-selling antipsychotic drug in the U.S. was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002 to treat adults with schizophrenia and later approved to treat symptoms of a variety of mental disorders, including bipolar disorder and depression.
The Daily Hornet also reports that Marlene C. from East Hanover, New Jersey, filed one of the most recent suits against the pharmaceutical giants. Marlene’s claims are similar to those included in other lawsuits that have been combined in the MDL, including impulse-control problems she developed while taking Abilify.
The Daily Hornet reported she began taking the drug in 2014 and lost more than $10,000 through uncontrollable behaviors – gambling and shopping – before she stopped taking it in 2016. Abilify’s label did not mention “gambling” until January 2016. Four months later, the FDA issued a drug safety communication about “compulsive or uncontrollable urges to gamble, binge eat, shop and have sex.” The notice was based on numerous reports from patients who had taken the drug.
In 2007, the drug cost its makers $515 million when, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, the companies settled with state and federal regulators for an array of civil allegations including marketing the drug to treat elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis. The previous year, the FDA issued a black box warning cautioning against that particular use of the drug due to an increased risk of death for elderly dementia patients.
Just last year, the companies agreed to shell out another $19.5 million to 42 states and Washington D.C. to resolve additional claims that they improperly marketed and promoted the drug for off-label uses.
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If you have any questions regarding the litigation, please contact Melissa Prickett, a lawyer in the Mass Torts Section.
U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation
U.S. Department of Justice