October 4, 2016 — Federal judges have centralized dozens of Abilify lawsuits into a Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2734) in the Northern District of Florida under Judge M. Casey Rodgers.
According to the transfer order (PDF), there are currently 22 Abilify lawsuits pending in 12 district courts. The judges were also notified of another 20 related lawsuits in 14 districts.
Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals are accused of failing to warn about impulse-control disorders. All of the plaintiffs experienced compulsive gambling behaviors after taking Abilify. Lawyers say drug-makers should have known about the risk.
All of the parties expressed unanimous support for the Northern District of Florida, where two lawsuits are currently pending.
The MDL process has many advantages — avoiding inconsistent pretrial rulings, eliminating duplicate discovery, and conserving the resources of everyone involved. After the discovery process is complete, lawyers typically choose a few cases for “bellwether” trials and use the outcomes to negotiate settlements.
Abilify contains aripiprazole, an antipsychotic drug that treats mental illness by balancing levels of dopamine in the brain. In some cases, this over-stimulates the “reward center” in the brain and causes uncontrollable urges to gamble, eat, shop, and have sex.