Blockbuster drug Abilify nears judgement day over compulsive gambling, sex
Makers of the blockbuster drug Abilify have until September 1 to come up with a way to settle more than 800 lawsuits that claim the anti-psychotic and anti-depressive drug spurred uncontrollable urges to gamble, binge eat, shop, and have sex—all without any warning.
The deadline for that “global settlement” was ordered recently by Judge M. Casey Rodgers in the Northern District Court of Florida, which is handling all the lawsuits in a lumped process called multidistrict litigation (MDL).
Judge Rodgers made the call after Abilify’s makers, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka, settled three lawsuits from the MDL individually earlier this year. All three were settled for undisclosed sums. Those cases had been carefully selected by the court and used as so-called bellwether trials. That is, they were test cases for the rest, thus they set a precedent for settlement. In the event that Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka fail to come up with a way to settle the rest by the deadline, the court will move a fresh batch of lawsuits from the MDL to trial.