Let’s begin by understanding what is Abilify. Abilify is the brand name given to aripiprazole, an antipsychotic drug by Otsuka Pharmaceutical and Bristol Myers Squibb. It is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a supplementary treatment for some psychological and mental issues such as schizophrenia, autism, bipolar, Tourette’s syndrome among others. The FDA initially approved it solely for schizophrenia treatment but has since allowed the expansion of its application.
About a million individuals in the United States are currently using Abilify. The drug is, however, associated with a number of side effects, the most common being compulsive gambling, sex addiction, and overeating. Besides these effects, the FDA also noted other effects; insomnia, panic attacks, mood swings, violence, mania and death in old patients who have dementia. It is mainly because of some of these side effects that several lawsuits have been filed against Abilify. The plaintiffs have been individual users, the Department of Justice, the District of Columbia and 42 states.
The Various Abilify Lawsuits
Plaintiffs argued that Abilify ruined their lives by causing them to become sex addicts and compulsive gamblers such as the Joseph Edgar lawsuit filed in 2016. In the lawsuit, the plaintiff alleged that compulsive gambling habits plagued him upon beginning using Abilify in 2009. However, the gambling addiction stopped as soon as he stopped using Abilify five years later. He faced physical and mental damages besides losing over $36,000.
Patrick Parks, Athalean Harper-Mosley and Ricky Carlson also filed similar lawsuits. In late 2016, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, upon realizing there were many cases of similar characteristics, consolidated them into a multidistrict litigation (MDL). The panel then transferred this Northern District of Florida District Court. In such cases, the MDL is presided over by a single judge, and one or several representative cases are picked to set the ball rolling. As of August 2017, there were 192 pending actions under the MDL. The process is expected to end in Abilify settlements seeking to resolve some of the cases.
Abilify Settlements and Other Abilify Lawsuits
In February 2017, the MDL Judge Casey Rodgers brought on board seasoned negotiator and legal mediator Cathy Yanni as settlement master. The judge instructed the plaintiff and defendant to attend a settlement conference with Cathy Yanni. Settlements are yet to be announced in the pending MDL cases. In other litigation cases against Abilify, five women sued alleging that the drug caused type 2 diabetes in children. They also added that the companies behind the drug failed to notify doctors administering it of the risk. However, these lawsuits were dismissed. The defendants argued that they could not get out-of-state witnesses to give testimonies. On the other hand, Abilify has forked out a couple of multimillion-dollar settlements. This has been in the wake of illegal marketing and making misleading unproven claims allegations.