AstraZeneca has reportedly agreed to pay another $150 million to settle Seroquel diabetes lawsuits, bringing the total amount of reported Seroquel settlements to about $350 million.
Earlier this week, sources at AstraZeneca told Bloomberg News that the drug maker has settled about 6,000 more lawsuits that allege inadequate warnings were provided about the risk of diabetes and other side effects of Seroquel. The average payout will be about $25,000 per plaintiff according to Bloomberg News sources.
It was previously reported in August that AstraZeneca agreed to pay almost $200 million to settle about 17,500 suits.
According to a company regulatory filing, the latest AstraZeneca settlement came from cases that were part of the Seroquel MDL (multidistrict litigation), which is centralized in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida under U.S. District Judge Anne Conway.
Last year, Judge Conway issued an order to remand thousands of Seroquel cases back to the courts where they were originally filed for individual trials. However, she had that order reversed last summer once it became clear AstraZeneca and many plaintiffs were making progress in talks to settle Seroquel lawsuits.
The company had faced a total of about 22,500 Seroquel lawsuits. Most of the remaining 4,000 cases that have not yet been settled are in state courts.
Seroquel (quetiapine fumarate) is an atypical-antipsychotic that is a top selling drug for AstraZeneca, generating nearly $5 billion a year in sales. Originally approved by the FDA in 1997 for the treatment of schizophrenia, it has also been frequently prescribed off-label for uses that were not approved as safe and effective at the time, such as anxiety, obsessive dementia, compulsive disorders and autism.
As of December, AstraZeneca has paid $738 million in legal costs for Seroquel diabetes litigation. The company also paid an additional $520 million last year to settle criminal allegations by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that it illegally marketed Seroquel for off-label uses.
While doctors are free to prescribe approved medications for non-approved uses, drug makers are barred from promoting or encouraging such “off-label” use. Since it was approved, Seroquel has been used by more than 19 million people worldwide, and some people have estimated that at one time as much as 70% of all seroquel prescriptions were for unapproved uses.