By Adam W. Pittman on October 6, 2016
Popular Prescription Drug Linked to Compulsive Gambling
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Judicial Panel on Multi-district Litigation has issued a Transfer Order centralizing federal lawsuits in the Abilify® drug litigation, MDL No. 2734.
These cases will be transferred to a federal court in the Northern District of Florida for the discovery stage of litigation. The Honorable M. Casey Rodgers was selected to preside over the multi-district litigation.
Attorneys on both sides of the issue support the Transfer Order.
In the October 3, 2016 Order, the Panel stated that on the basis of papers filed and a hearing session held:
“All the actions share common factual questions arising out of allegations that Abilify (Aripiprazole), an atypical antipsychotic medication commonly prescribed to treat a variety of mental disorders, can cause impulse control problems in users. Plaintiffs in these actions each allege that they experienced compulsive gambling behaviors as a result of taking Abilify.”
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Furthermore, the Panel stated that “all the actions involve factual questions relating to whether Ability was defectively designed or manufactured, whether defendants knew or should have known of the alleged propensity of Abilify to cause compulsive gambling behaviors in users, and whether defendants provided adequate instructions and warnings with this product.”
“We are glad the courts will consider this litigation and the tragic impact this widely prescribed drug has had on so many individuals and their families,” said Kristian Rasmussen of Cory Watson Attorneys, a law firm representing several thousand Abilify clients.
The team at Cory Watson Attorneys represents Abilify patients from across the U.S. The plaintiffs contend the maker of Abilify failed to warn of the link between the drug and an increased risk of developing compulsive behaviors.
Many Abilify users report that the compulsive behaviors stopped when the medicine was discontinued or the dose was reduced. Defendants in the Abilify MDL include Bristol Myers Squibb Company, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co, Ltd., and Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc.
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Abilify is prescribed to treat mental illnesses including depression, bipolar disorder, Tourette syndrome, and schizophrenia. Scientific studies and adverse event reports to the FDA have linked Abilify to potentially devastating side effects including compulsive gambling, hypersexuality, compulsive spending, and overeating.
In May of this year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a safety announcement that updated the list of compulsive behaviors on the drug’s warning label, adding “compulsive eating, shopping, and sexual actions” to “pathological gambling” as side effects.
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