In its second quarter report, AstraZeneca revealed that it has already spent $593 million defending Seroquel, its antipsychotic drug that is involved in state and federal litigation across the country. Seroquel is an atypical antipsychotic drug approved by the FDA for treating schizophrenia and bipolar disorders. There have been more than 10,000 lawsuits filed in state and federal courts in the U.S. in which Plaintiffs accuse the company of illegally marketing Seroquel for off-label uses and failing to warn users about the risks of severe weight gain, diabetes and other serious medical conditions.
The drug manufacturer says the cost of defending the litigation has already exceeded its liability insurance. The company says it will most likely face legal disputes over at least some of its insurance coverage. Currently, 10,381 cases are pending – 2,556 have been dismissed. I don’t believe there has been a case tried so far. The Seroquel litigation has been described as “a roller coaster ride” for both sides.
Two bellwether cases, which were set to be tried in the multi-district litigation, were dismissed by the court. While this was in a victory for the Defense, it was followed by a big win for the Plaintiffs when numerous company documents were unsealed. That revealed that AstraZeneca had “cherry picked” favorable information about the drug from medical studies and failed to make negative results public. The next trials were scheduled to begin in May in a Delaware state court, but the named Plaintiff was dismissed in the case and replaced by a bankruptcy trustee. The trustee’s ability to recover damages is capped at $14,000 plus litigation costs. But, in another victory for the Plaintiffs, the MDL judge ruled in June that the Plaintiffs’ expert epidemiologist could testify that Seroquel can cause weight gain and diabetes.
Source: Lawyers USA Online
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