Seroquel Diabetes Problems Kept From Doctors According to Unsealed Documents

According to documents unsealed last week in the federal Seroquel litigation, AstraZeneca encouraged their sales representatives in 2005 to tell doctors in the United States that their were no Seroquel diabetes problems, even though they had notified Japenese doctors in 2002 about a possible link and their own drug-safety expert acknowledged in 2000 that there was evidence of a connection between Seroquel and diabetes.

Seroquel (quetiapine fumarate), is an atypical antipsychotic which AstraZeneca introduced in 1997 for treatment of schizophrenia. Since that time, it has been used by over 19 million people and has grown to generate over $3 billion in annual sales for the pharmaceutical company.

Despite mounting concerns about Seroquel side effects, which have been shown to increase the risk for high blood-sugar levels, weight gain, diabetes and other potentially life-threatening disorders, AstraZeneca has pushed for expanded uses of the drug, such as treatment of bipolar disorders and depression.

Did You Know?

Millions of Philips CPAP Machines Recalled

Philips DreamStation, CPAP and BiPAP machines sold in recent years may pose a risk of cancer, lung damage and other injuries.

Learn More

AstraZeneca currently faces over 9,000 Seroquel lawsuits throughout the United States, which have been filed by users who allege they were not adequately warned about the diabetes problems.

Although AstraZeneca’s Seroquel lawyers have been largely successful keeping the internal documents and other damaging information uncovered during the litigation from the public, over 100 documents were unsealed recently, including internal emails, documents, depositions and unpublished study results.

According to these papers, AstraZeneca encouraged their sales representatives in 2005 to minimize doctors’ concerns about weight gain and diabetes problems with Seroquel, instructing reps to “refocus the call” away from these concerns and to state that data shows no causal connection between diabetes and Seroquel.

Pharmaceutical sales representatives were told to provide this information to doctors despite the fact that AstraZeneca’s own expert wrote nearly five years earlier that there was evidence of a relationship between Seroquel problems and diabetes.

In 2000, a position paper written by AstraZeneca’s global safety officer, Wayne Geller, concluded that there was “reasonable evidence” that Seroquel side effects cause diabetes and related conditions based on studies and data which were available to the drug maker very early on after the drug was introduced.

According to other company documents unsealed last week, AstraZeneca sent a letter to physicians in Japan in November 2002 warning about a possible connection between Seroquel and diabetes, indicating that they had received at least 12 reports of users who developed high-blood sugar levels.

Throughout the litigation of Seroquel diabetes lawsuits, most of which have been consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, plaintiffs’ lawyers have been fighting attempts by AstraZeneca to keep this and other information uncovered in the case sealed and isolated from public view.

On February 26, 2009, AstraZeneca agreed to release at least 102 files with information about the drug after Bloomberg News filed a motion to have the documents made available.


"*" indicates required fields

Share Your Comments

I authorize the above comments be posted on this page*

Have Your Comments Reviewed by a Lawyer

Provide additional contact information if you want an attorney to review your comments and contact you about a potential case. This information will not be published.

NOTE: Providing information for review by an attorney does not form an attorney-client relationship.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.