Settlements have been reached in the first lawsuits of a massive multidistrict litigation (MDL) case against pharmaceutical companies Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals over complications with their popular anti-psychotic drug Abilify. These were the first of more than 800 lawsuits consolidated into the MDL, which allege that Abilify induced compulsive gambling, as well as other impulse control and behavioral problems.
The three cases were originally set for trial this summer in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida, but were settled early through mediation. Dangerous drug lawsuit watchers were following the lawsuits closely, since the results of these initial cases might serve as an indication of how future lawsuits will fare.
The terms of the settlements have not been disclosed. The remaining cases await trial or settlement in various other districts around the country.
Abilify and the FDA
The drug aripiprazole, marketed as Abilify, is an atypical antipsychotic medication that is approved by the FDA for use in the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder. Common off-label uses for the drug include treatment for irritability, aggression, mood swings, dementia, PTSD, and other behavioral disorders.
The drug was introduced to the American market in 2002, and has generated a profit of over $8 billion a year for the pharmaceutical companies. In 2014, Abilify was the top-selling drug in the United States.
In 2016, the FDA issued a label update and warning about links it had discovered between Abilify and compulsive behaviors. In particular, the FDA had received 164 reports of gambling addictions in patients who were prescribed the drug. Several other adverse event reports outlined complaints of compulsive shopping, eating, or sexual behavior. In most cases, patients had no record of compulsive behaviors prior to taking Abilify. Most complainants reported their symptoms stopped after discontinuing their use of the drug.
Abilify Causes Compulsive Gambling
The three lawsuits that were settled in Florida all cite compulsive gambling as the plaintiffs’ primary complaint. Two of the three plaintiffs allege losses of more than $75,000 during the period that they were taking Abilify. The third plaintiff did not specify her monetary losses, but alleged that Abilify caused her to lose her ability to earn income.
Contact an Attorney Who Specializes in Dangerous Drug Lawsuits
Although the FDA has a stringent approval process in place, drugs with serious side effects often manage to get to market. In these cases, a dangerous drug lawsuit may be a victim’s best bet to collect compensation for any injuries or losses related to their side effects. Lawsuits are also effective in bringing attention to the dangers of certain drugs, and pressuring pharmaceutical companies and the FDA to address serious threats to consumers.
If you have suffered from unanticipated and serious side effects as a result of taking a prescription or over the counter drug, contact an experienced team of prescription drug attorneys to discuss your options for legal recourse. The attorneys at Dennis A. Lopez & Associates have a record of success helping clients raise claims against large pharmaceutical companies, and we will fight tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today at (813) 291-3683 for a free consultation about your case.