June 29, 2016 — Lawyers representing people who became addicted to gambling after taking the anti-psychotic drug Abilify have asked federal judges to centralize dozens of lawsuits into one court.
On June 24, lawyers filed a motion (PDF) to centralize at least 26 lawsuits pending in twelve different U.S. District Courts.
The lawyers expect several hundred more lawsuits will eventually be filed by people who experienced compulsive behavior disorders after taking Abilify.
They are asking federal judges to transfer the cases into a Multi-District Litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida before the Honorable M. Casey Rodgers.
Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. agree that the lawsuits should be centralized under one judge. The discovery process has just started and no case has gone to trial. According to the motion:
“Failing to transfer would force all the parties to take repetitive and/or redundant depositions and other pretrial discovery, as well as leading to inconsistent and conflicting rulings.”
Last month, the FDA issued a Safety Communication to warn about the risk of impulse-control disorders. The agency announced that warnings regarding “compulsive or uncontrollable urges to gamble, binge eat, shop, and have sex” would be added to the Abilify label.
Abilify belongs to a class of drugs that treat mental illnesses by targeting dopamine and serotonin. When these chemicals are released in the brain, they reinforce behavior and produce feelings of pleasure and motivation. Over time, a person can become addicted to the behavior.