According to a February 21 case management order issued in the Northern District of Florida, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. have reached on a confidential global settlement with thousands of plaintiffs who alleged that the antipsychotic drug Abilify causes uncontrollable gambling urges.
The order entered by Judge M. Casey Rodgers stated, the agreement resolves all cases pending in the multidistrict litigation as of January 28 or those which are in the process of being transferred to the MDL, and also multicounty litigation in state court in New Jersey, cases in California state courts, and any other pending cases filed in the federal or state courts. The details of the master settlement remained confidential. The companies stated, "the settlement reflects Otsuka and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s desire to focus on the needs of patients and prescribers rather than on continued litigation. Otsuka and Bristol-Myers Squibb expressly disclaim any wrongdoing or liability." A settlement was reached on April 30 for three bellwether cases selected by Judge Rogers. There are more than 2,000 lawsuits pending in the federal MDL which allege that the drug approved to treat schizophrenia, bipolar I disorder and major depressive disorder caused consumers to exhibit unusual compulsive behavior.
As per the order issued on February 15, the Court directed all plaintiff's counsel in the Abilify gambling litigation to appear for a case management conference to resolve most of the lawsuits pending in the federal court system considering the final global settlement.
Currently, more than 2,000 Abilify product liability claims are pending against the drug makers alleging that they failed to provide an adequate warning about the serious side-effects of the antipsychotic drug, which include uncontrollable urges to gamble and engage in impulsive behavior..
The multi-district litigation MDL No. 2734 (In Re: Abilify Compulsive Behavior Products Liability Litigation) was formed in October 2016 in the Northern District of Florida for coordinated discovery and pre-trial proceeding.