Seroquel Lawsuit Defense Costs Exceed $593M for AstraZeneca

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By: AboutLawsuits | Published: August 4th, 2009

After spending nearly $600 million in legal expenses to fight thousands of Seroquel lawsuits filed by users of their blockbuster antipsychotic medication, AstraZeneca indicates that they have exceeded the potential extent of their liability insurance coverage for defense costs.

Seroquel (quetiapine fumarate) is an atypical-antipsychotic that is a top selling drug for AstraZenenca, generating nearly $5 billion a year in sales.

The drug maker faces potential liability for allegedly failing to adequately warn users that Seroquel side effects may increase the risk of diabetes, weight gain, hyperglycemia and a rare movement disorder known as tardive dyskinesia.

While announcing their second-quarter profits, AstraZeneca noted that the Seroquel lawsuit defense costs have exceeded $593 million, which does not include any funds that may be necessary to compensate consumers who suffered injuries. This would exhaust the potential insurance coverage available for such expenses, and the company also anticipates that their insurers will dispute coverage for some or all of the costs. AstraZeneca must now begin taking charges on their income statements to cover the costs of the litigation.

As of July 13, 2009, AstraZeneca faced 10,381 Seroquel lawsuits involving about 19,391 plaintiff groups, according to their second quarter report. Most of the cases have been consolidated in an MDL, or Multidistrict Litigation, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

Earlier this year, two of the first cases set for trial in the federal MDL were dismissed after the court determined that those plaintiffs could not establish that their diabetes was caused by Seroquel under Florida law. While those cases are being appealed, the remaining Florida cases that were prepared for early trials have been stayed pending a decision. However, the MDL court has indicated that cases filed in other states will be remanded back to the federal district courts where they were filed for individual trials after procedural and evidentiary issues are resolved.

At this time, the first trial for a Seroquel lawsuit is scheduled to occur in Missouri state court in October 2009.

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There Are 30 Comments So Far • (Add Your Comments)

  1. I was on Seroquel for about a year for the treatment of bi-polar disorder. During that time I experienced involuntary arm and leg movements. I was hospitalized three times. Twice I was at a very small hospital, they sedated me and sent me home and provided no reason as to the movements. The third time I went to a much larger hospital and was sedated, aspirated and ended up in intensive care. It was then that I was diagnosed with tardive dyskinesia and that this was caused by the Seroquel. Tardive dyskinesia is not treatable and is a life long illness. This drug needs to be taken off the marketplace

  2. I have never been on this or any psychiatric drug but I have worked with and attempted to assist many people who were on it (and who suffered as a result) to know that this is poison, plain and simple. Drugs like Seroquel (such as Zyprexa, Geodon, Risperdal, etc.) have been and still are the subject of state and federal investigations and very big legal actions. Eli Lilly alone has paid out close to 2 billion in civil and criminal settlements for fraudulent marketing and or failing to adequately warn consumers of the diabetic side effects of their drug Zyprexa. These drugs are not new and improved. They are just far more expensive and far more risky. And when it has been conclusively proven that schizophrenia can be cured without drugs, why are doctors and psychiatrists still prescribing these prescription death sentences? It’s the buck of course. They don’t care about people or health. They just want your (or the states’) money.

  3. To Steve: What is your conclusive evidence that schizophrenia can be cured without drugs? i have a 46 year old son suffering from schizophrenia who is on Seroquel and Geodon. He has taken Risperdal in the past. he has been on an assotment of psychotropic drugs for 17 years.

  4. I have been on seroquel for 5 years. I was diag. with manic-depression (aka bipolar disorder) & OCD 15 years ago. I had tried every form of therapy, including biofeedback, cognitive therapy, prayer, “thinking positive thoughts.” I was always a very high achiever, put myself through college & got 3 degrees. But I had horrific insomnia, super manias & then constant thoughts of suicide. Depakote helped vs. the mania but it wasn’t until I tried Seroquel that the suicidal thoughts stopped. It took about 4 weeks but now I rarely think of suicide.
    I have some “jerks” but I consider it worth the trade off to be sane & non-suicidal

  5. I have been on seroquel for approximately 6 years. Nine months ago I was told that I suffer with diabetes. I had noticed that I had gained excessive weight, had severe hunger and thirst. I also experienced redness and itchness on my skin. In the past I have also been on risperidal.

  6. Was this or was it not approved for use of Autism? My son has also been suicidal since taking this drug and is 17 running out in the street now and has stayed upset almost daily and getting stuck alot like he is frozen and stomping through this house destruct and destroy. I have also noticed he has been ill a few times hurling all over the bathroom in the past few weeks he has been back on it. Tests showed his proteins were low. The Dr’s claim this is all just behavior issues and he should stay on it i disagree. He has been on this in the past and it seemed to help at a lower dosage though he still would get froze at times he was more here than gone (stuck) ya know? Now i have an uncontrollable child i cannot even get to get out of the car to even see a Dr which is also a new thing since the Seroquel and he is ripping lightswitches out of the walls and ceiling fans out of the ceiling!. Ben has been on Risperadol and Zyprexa in the past and became manic on both drugs he is highly allergic and these quacks know that!!!! I am so angry!!!!

  7. I TOO HAVE BEEN ON SEROQUEL FOR 5 TO6 YEARS AND HAVE PUT ON LOTS OF WEIGHT, NOW I AM DIABETIC, HAVE SLEEP APENIA, THYROID PROBLEMS,HIGH BLOOD PREASURE. WHEN I WOULD TAKE SEROQUEL I WOULD GO INTO A DEEP SLEEP.I ALSO WAS ON ZYEXPRA

  8. Laura,
    Hang in there. I am sorry you are having these problems. I just used to work for AZ and came to this site to read about the lawsuits. Nevr sold Seraquel, but I could just feel your pain and thought you could use some encouraging words. I’m no medical expert, but I would try to find a doc who would be willing to start from scratch with your son. Maybe no drugs, wash him out, then try to figure something out. Try to keep things calm around your son, talk to him, love him, and pray. I hope everything works out, I will pray for you too. Ben.

  9. I have had the opportunity to work with a neuopsychiatrist who has been able to help me live a normal life. Although this drug has potential side effects, as any drug has, this drug has significantly had a positve effect on my life. I understand the concern of possible side effects. All medications have possible side effects!!! Each person has to decide whether the risk of potential side effect is worth having an opportunity for a normal life! I am a survivor of metastatic breast cancer (diagnosed initially in 1994) with a recent recurrance for a second time, I am wiling to risk side effects to have the opportunity to have a terrific life!!! Only a person who has lived through depression and mood issues can decide to take this medication. Many thousands have been positively effected by the use of this drug. I am not the only person I have directly seen a positive action on. A young adult nephew was diagnosed with severe bipolar disorder and has been effectively treated using
    Seroquel, being monitored for potential side effects. Thus for,
    Seroquel has allowed a normal life again. SIDE EFFECTS OCCUR IN THE USE OF ALL MEDICATIONS.

  10. I was on seroquel for over 4 years with medium results. Still had bad cycling with the bipolar. Suicidal thoughts, weight gain and just was released from a 2 week stay in the hospital for acute/severe pancreatitis. I have no history of any physical ailments until this. Pancreatitis is a rare illness in healthy adults. The only known cause was the seroquel. I have been slowly poisoning myself with this medication and now have permanate damage and medical bills enough to bankrupt me.This has been a nightmare!!

  11. Thank goodness for Seroquil. And yes, I am very aware of all the side effects regarding this drug. I read their ad and that is how I became aware of diabetes. I learned about the Seroquil munchies through my psychologist. I knew about tardive dyskinesia as I had been in Mennigers 30 years ago and have known that it is a prominant side effect for all anti-psychotic medication. I have moderate skizophrenia and because of the combination of Seroquil and counseling, I can now live a normal life. I have learned to avoid sugar, I watch my weight and excercise. My skizophrenia will never go away. With out this drug, I would be doomed to a life in mental hospitals or group homes. Thank you AstraZeneca for letting me live a normal life!

  12. I almost died in 2005 from Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome I got from taking Seroquel for less then two weeks. I ran a temperature of 107.5 degrees and went into a coma. When I emerged from the coma, I had sustained brain damage and was unable to even sit unassisted. I had to learn to walk again, relearn all things using my hands and to this day I have problems talking so that I can be understood. I have been trying to get state disability all this time and have been turned down numerous times. I have tried to sue AstraZeneca for selling Seroquel since they knew that it was harmful, but I have been turned down by every lawyer I have contacted, and there have been many. I would like to hear from anyone that knows of who I can contact about a lawsuit on this kind of side effect to Seroquel.

  13. I have been on seroquel for almost 7 years and in that time my teeth have been falling apart. I have lost 4 teeth and have many crowns and cavitites as well. I had great teeth before I started taking the medication. I also have a hard time losing weight even though I work out at the gym several times a week. THe medication has also slowed my digestive system and it is very hard for my to go to the bathroom.

  14. My was given Seroquel while in prison she suffered a brain aneurysm and she since then experience low blood sugar and she has seizures.

  15. I was absolutely devastated to hear of this lawsuit. I have been taking Seroquel for 10 years or more. Over all this time, it may have caused side effects; I’m not sure. My next well-woman visit is next month, and these complaints will be explored.

    At any rate, I have a helluva insomnia problem. Seroquel has been the only medication — OTC and/or prescription — that would allow me to sleep for 8 hours! I may even be psychologically addicted to it.

    In the meantime, my doctor is weaning me off Seroquel because of its ever-increasing PRICE, going from approx. $335/month (January 2009) to approx. $450/month (April 2010). Unconscionable!!

  16. I had been taking seroquel for about three years and I found myself weighing 298lbs . i couldnt walk down stairs the weight was to much for my knees so I had to walk with a cane at the age of thirty. With in a year of taking seroquel I went into the hospital with my sugar levels at 1000 now Im on insulllin and diabeties pills

  17. I am 26 years old and I lost my mom 4 years ago to seroquel. We never even knew she developed diabetes till she died of a diabetic heart attack in her sleep. We have been going through our lawsuit against astra zeneca for 3 years now. But there will never be any amount of money to bring my mom back. I wish astra zeneca would just think for one minute, how they would feel if they lost a loved one to a prescription drug that was suppose to be helping them not killing them.

  18. My wife was taking high does of seroquel for a year and she developed liver damage . 50% of her liver is damaged and shrunk. When they stoped this medicine her liver started recovering .

  19. I lost my younger brother due to Seroquel. He passed away April 21, 2009. He was 19 years old. The only thing found in his toxicology report was Seroquel. I am not positive how long he was on it, but that was all that was in his system. Tell me again how great this drug is. We all miss you, Kyle!

  20. Chris:
    My prayers and thoughts go out to you and your family and friends. Seroquel is dangerous drug. My doctors had me on this drug for 2 years and I can’t believe that I’m still alive. There were times when I took this drug and blacked out, not remembering anything. This drug did do some good when I took it properly, but the problem was that this drug was a mind eraser, and it was so easy to take a few extra pills when you where down and out, and just wanted the mental pain to go away and just wanted to go to sleep. If there is anything I can do for you or your family I would be more than happy to do it.

  21. My son was taking this medicine for about 1 1/2 years and ended up with pancreatitis. He was in the hospital for a month with one week critical. He had to be put in a medical induced coma in order to allow his pancreas to recover. When he came out of the coma, he found out this caused him to be diabetic. I heard the first law suit filed received an unfavorable decision–sounds like they are going to get away with this.

  22. I was put on seroquel for sleep. It had nothing to do with bipolar. I have MDD. Then I saw a comercial on tv, I said then I was not going to take it any longer because of the major side effects. Went to a new Doctor and was told that he was almost positive it was the seroquel that caused my diabetes. Now of all things, the Doctor that prescribed this drug has shut her door and closed up, out of business. Where does that leave me? New Doctors with no health insurance, to start everything all over again. .Let’s not forget adding diabetis with nerve damage. This drug is very expensive, therefore, I was receiving it free from AstraZeneca. I will not take anything from this manafacturing company again, This must be what others mean by practicing medicine. I now check all medication, To see which company gets my money this month.

  23. I had intestinal blockage before taking Seroquel and started to believe license plates had “messages” for me. Seroquel has made the messages go away, but I have had to stop alcohol, increase exercise, fiber and fluids to deal with going to the bathroom. Over two years I have gained maybe five pounds.
    Why do people blame a pill when they aren’t doing everything they can to improve their health? I know diet and exercise can prevent diabetes,
    but how can you prevent pancreatitis?

  24. I have been on seroquel for approximately 3 years. About 2 years ago I was told that I suffer with diabetes. I had noticed that I had gained excessive weight, had severe hunger and thirst.I have lost half the feeling in my hands. I was givin this to help me with sleep. I gained almost 100 lbs the first year,I complained about this to Drs,not 1 told me about this danger of taking this med…No one in my family is over weight or has diabetes.Even if I dont get money for this people need to be warned about this drug……………………….

  25. I have been on Seroquel for about 2 years now and recently was diagnosed with “Fatty Liver”, high cholesterol, and have gained several pounds. When I spoke to my doctor I was told – “Oh, we don’t want you off of Seroquel.” Well, I beg to differ. I don’t eat fatty foods (too much fat and grease has always given me a headache). I prefer salads over anything else so I don’t understand why my cholesterol has shot up so high. It was almost double where it should be. I started at a really high dose and never have a had a “Seroquel Level” done. Please don’t take this medication. I would rather be depressed or manic than to take this another day.

  26. I went on Seroquel several months ago to help with mood regulation for Bipolar 2. I stopped taking it regularly, and instead only used it for extremely difficult psychological times, to zonk me out. Over those few months I have developed a “whooshing” sound in my ear, which it turns out is due to a 50-79% blockage in my right carotid artery…and I’m only 39. I did already have high blood pressure, but have been reading that Seroquel can have effects on cholesterol levels, and wonder if there can be a connection…

  27. I have been taking Seroquel for 3 years! Now i’ have diabetes type 2. I cannot sleep without Seroquel. When i run out of Seroquel i have to run at 2 am or 3 am because i can’t sleep. I’am hook -like a crack head!!! And i gain 35 pounds can’t get rit of !!!

  28. as for seroquel i started taking 800 mill 5 years ago and now im down to 25……………yes i became diabetic issues..as for needing it to sleep etcc yes it does help with that but their are other options..its hard to come off and psychlogicaly for me very hard but it can be done with help fron the dr

  29. I TOOK SEROQUEL FOR MAJOR DEPRESSION.I GAINED WEIGHT AND I HAVE DIABETES.I ALSO HAVE SLEEP APNEA.IT HELPED ME TO SLEEP BUT IT ALSO MADE ME SICKER,NOONE TOLD ME THE SIDE EFFECTS.

  30. I was on seroquel for only a month back in september and I couldnt sleeo ithout it I was diagnosed with depression and spent 8 days.in a mental hospital I started twitching n couldnt control it n had uncontrollable movement in both legs I thought it was gonna drive me crazy I didn’t know about these side effects I’ve gained weight and cant lose it. Does anyone advise me as to getting legal advise for this. I’m now on other meds but can’t ever get a goodnight sleep like when I was on this drug and I think about suicide everyday

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