A multidistrict litigation has been established for federally-filed Abilify lawsuits involving the drug’s possible link to compulsive gambling. According to an Order dated October 3rd, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has transferred the docket to the Northern District of Florida, to be overseen by Judge M. Casey Rodgers.
The Panel’s Order notes that there are currently 42 Abilify lawsuits pending in federal courts around the country.
“All the actions involve factual questions relating to whether Abilify was defectively designed or manufactured, whether defendants knew or should have know of the alleged propensity of Abilify to cause compulsive gambling behaviors in users, and whether the defendants provided adequate instructions and warnings with this product,” the Order states. “These common factual issues are sufficiently complex to merit centralized treatment. Centralization will eliminate duplicative discovery; prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings; and conserve the resources of the parties, the counsel and the judiciary.”
Abilify is an atypical antipsychotic indicated to treat schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder and other psychiatric disorders in adults and children. In May, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced that its review of adverse event data from November 2002 through mid-January 2016 had uncovered more than 180 cases of compulsive behaviors among patients treated with Abilify and other aripiprazole products. Over 150 of those reports involved compulsive gambling, while the remaining involved compulsive sexual behavior, shopping and eating, as well as multiple impulse-control problems.
While the Abilify label had listed compulsive gambling as a possible side effect prior to the FDA’s review, the agency determined that the wording did not completely reflect the nature of the impulse-control risk associated with aripiprazole. As such, the FDA ordered the manufacturers of Abilify and other aripiprazole medications to add new warnings regarding compulsive gambling and other impulse control problems to their product labels and patient Medication Guides.