Company internal documents show that AstraZeneca Plc., knew about the risk of the antipsychotic drug Seroquel causing diabetes as far back as 2000. It has been revealed in a Florida case that the company was well aware of the risk. AstraZeneca Global Safety Officer Wayne Geller concluded there was “reasonable evidence to suggest Seroquel therapy can cause” diabetes and related conditions, according to documents produced for a hearing in federal court in Tampa, Florida last month. Geller drew his conclusions following a review of available studies and internal trials, according to the documents.
AstraZeneca is facing a tremendous number of claims over Seroquel in state and federal courts in the United States. The first trial, set to begin on February 2nd, involves a complaint filed by Linda Guinn, a Florida woman. Ms. Guinn says she developed diabetes after taking Seroquel. The drug is part a class of newer antipsychotic drugs including Eli Lilly & Co.’s Zyprexa and Johnson & Johnson’s Risperdal. Thousands of consumers have sued the companies claiming they hid the risks of the drugs and marketed them for unapproved purposes. Thus far, Lilly has paid $1.2 billion to settle 31,000 claims by individuals. It will be most interesting to see if AstraZeneca will allow the Florida case to go to trial.
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