The judge overseeing centralization of Abilify lawsuits has held an initial conference to go over the current status of the litigation. Currently, around 50 lawsuits have been coordinated into multidistrict litigation in the Northern District of Florida and some are predicting that number could get into the hundreds as more Abilify users realize the potential risks of the medication. The drug has now been linked to compulsive behaviors like gambling, eating and sex, creating significant financial and relationship issues for some.
The conference, which was scheduled for November 7, was also used to discuss whether a tutorial providing medical and scientific information would be an asset for the court. During this tutorial, representatives for both plaintiffs and defendants could present information supporting or refuting the link between Abilify and compulsive gambling. The tutorial would be provided in a non-adversarial setting for the purpose of supplying the court with information that would help make a determination on the viability of that link
Last month, the U.S. Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation centralized the growing number of Abilify gambling cases into a single federal court for pretrial proceedings. Multidistrict litigation is a common choice for complex pharmaceutical litigation like this, because it streamlines the pre-trial process to make it more efficient and convenient for everyone involved. The panel determined an MDL was appropriate for Abilify litigation due to similar questions of fact among the cases.
The transfer order, which was signed on October 3, chose the Northern District of Florida as the venue since there were already Abilify cases filed in that court. In addition, both plaintiffs and defendants agreed the Florida court would be a convenient and accessible location for early trial proceedings. The Honorable Judge M. Casey Rodgers was selected to preside over the MDL.
About Abilify & compulsive behavior
Abilify was approved by the FDA in 2002 for the treatment of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. It has also been prescribed to treat symptoms of Tourette’s syndrome and autism and can be used with anti-depressants to treat some types of depression. Manufactured by Bristol-Meyers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, Abilify became one of the top-selling drugs for these companies. In the United States, Abilify grosses more than $6 billion annually.
In May, the FDA issued a safety communication, warning the general public and medical community about the risk of compulsive gambling associated with the drug. The agency also noted a few cases of compulsive eating or sexual behavior that appeared to be linked to Abilify.
For those who experience compulsive gambling related to the drug, the consequences can be severe. Some have suffered severe financial setbacks and strain on family relationships. Patients who experienced these compulsive behaviors saw relief after they stopped taking the drug, indicating a direct link between the drug and the behavior.
If you or someone you love have suffered injuries or other consequences as a result of Abilify use, you may be entitled to damages. Contact the Bonsignore Trial Lawyers for a free review of your case and answers to your legal questions.
- Daily Hornet, Abilify Lawsuits Centralized in MDL, https://dailyhornet.com/2016/abilify-lawsuits-centralized-in-mdl/
- United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, Initial Transfer Order for MDL 2734, http://www.jpml.uscourts.gov/sites/jpml/files/MDL-2734-Initial_Transfer-09-16.pdf