Abilify Gambling Litigation Preps for June Conference, as Settlement Discussions Continue

Published on June 8, 2018 by Sandy Liebhard

The parties to hundreds of Abilify gambling lawsuits are continuing their efforts to reach a global settlement, even as the federal court overseeing the claims prepares to convene its June Case Management Conference.

According to a Joint Proposed Agenda filed with the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida, on Tuesday, that meeting is scheduled for June 12th.

Among other things, the agenda notes that the parties anticipate submitting a list of “No Pay” Abilify lawsuits – those cases that would not be participating in any global settlement – ahead of next week’s conference.

Parties Have Until September to Finalize Abilify Settlement

More than 1,000 Abilify lawsuits are now pending in the Northern District of Florida, all of which were filed on behalf of plaintiffs who incurred significant financial losses due to gambling addictions and other compulsive behaviors they developed after initiating treatment with the antipsychotic medication.

The litigation was to begin a series of 3 bellwether trials this month. However, the Court stayed proceedings in those specific Abilify lawsuits after the parties disclosed that they had agreed to settle the claims.

An Order issued on May 8th disclosed the ongoing Abilify settlement discussions and gave the parties until September to finalize a global agreement to resolve most of the claims pending in the litigation. Among other things, the Order stipulated that, once No Pay cases were identified for removal from the litigation, lawyers for both plaintiffs and defendants would begin meeting with a Settlement Master to structure a mediation process for the remaining.

Abilify and Compulsive Gambling

Abilify (aripiprazole) is an atypical antipsychotic medication approved for the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depressive disorders. It may also be prescribed off-label to treat irritability, aggression, mood swings, and other behavioral problems.

In May 2016, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) ordered that new warnings be added to the labels for all aripiprazole-containing medications, after a review of the agency’s adverse event database revealed more than 184 reports of impulse control disorders potentially associated with their use.

The majority of those reports -164 – involved patients who had developed compulsive gambling habits. The majority had no prior history of compulsive behaviors and reported that they began experiencing uncontrollable urges soon after they initiated treatment with aripiprazole. The majority also reported that their compulsive urges subsided when treatment ended or dosage was decreased.

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