Abilify Gambling Lawsuits Consolidated By JPML For Pretrial Litigation

Following oral arguments presented last week, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) has decided to centralize and consolidate all Abilify gambling lawsuits before one federal judge, which is designed to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues in the cases, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings from different courts and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts.

There are currently at least 22 product liability lawsuits pending in 12 different U.S. District Courts, each raising nearly identical allegations that individuals suffered severe damages from compulsive gambling on Abilify, indicating that the drug makers failed to adequately warn users and the medical community that the popular antipsychotic medication may result in severe impulse control problems.

In a transfer order (PDF) issued on October 4, the U.S. JPML determined that the cases involve sufficiently common questions of fact and law to justify coordinated pretrial proceedings, assigning the Abilify litigation to U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers in the Northern District of Florida.

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“All the actions involve factual questions relating to whether Abilify 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,” the JPML wrote in its decision. “These common factual issues are sufficiently complex to merit centralized treatment.”

With Abilify injury lawyers continuing to review and file additional cases for individuals who have been left with severe financial problems as a result of a gambling addiction that began shortly after starting to use the drug, it is widely expected that hundreds, if not thousands, of lawsuits may ultimately be transferred into the federal Multidistrict Litigation (MDL).

Abilify Compulsive Behavior

Abilify (ariprazole) is one of the top-selling brand name medications on the market in the United States, generating sales in excess of $6 billion per year. It was introduced in 2002 for treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other major depressive disorders, but is also widely used to treat irritability, aggression, mood swings and other behavior issues.

In May, the FDA required the drug makers to update the warning label to provide information for users and doctors about the potential link between Abilify and gambling problems, compulsive shopping and other compulsive activities. The regulatory agency noted that a large number of adverse event reports have been received from users describing uncontrollable urges to gamble, shop, eat or engage in sexual activity.

Addictive gambling problems on Abilify can have a severe impact on users, causing severe financial losses and behavior that can destroy families, reputations and cause irreparable damage to an individual’s quality of life. Plaintiffs allege that if warnings had been provided about the risk of impulsive behaviors, they may have avoided devastating consequences by recognizing the potential side effects associated with the medication and stopping use of the drug.

Now that the U.S. JPML has established centralized pretrial proceedings, it is likely that a small group of cases will be prepared for early trial dates to help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that is likely to be repeated throughout the litigation. While the outcome of these “bellwether” trials would not be binding on other cases, they may be useful in helping the parties reach Abilify settlements to resolve claims without the need for hundreds of individual trials nationwide.

2 Comments

  • MitchOctober 18, 2016 at 1:10 am

    I used ability for a while and stopped taking them and changed to seroquel,I had been a method user but was clean for 16 years I ended up relapsing and am still using,I have sex urges and have several relationships that always last short times most less than a month,and have a gambling addiction that has me in casinos several times a day with stays of approximately 14 days a month in hotels at cas[Show More]I used ability for a while and stopped taking them and changed to seroquel,I had been a method user but was clean for 16 years I ended up relapsing and am still using,I have sex urges and have several relationships that always last short times most less than a month,and have a gambling addiction that has me in casinos several times a day with stays of approximately 14 days a month in hotels at casinos

  • DeborahOctober 17, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    I take Abilify and I have severe impulsive shopping problems. It has created financial and relationship hardships. I also have started gambling.

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