The federal court overseeing thousands of Abilify gambling lawsuits has chosen six cases for trials that will be convened during the summer of 2019.
According to an Order issued in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida, on December 4th, the six Abilify lawsuit were randomly selected for fast-tracked discovery and trial.
Among other things, the Order establishes a discovery schedule for the fast-track cases. In addition, it memorializes the Court’s rulings on several discovery issues raised during the Abilify litigation’s most recent Case Management Conference.
The Court has not set trial dates. However, it will probably do so following its January Case Management Conference.
Abilify is an atypical antipsychotic that treats schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depressive disorders. It affects the action of serotonin and dopamine. People with high levels of dopamine in the brain can develop gambling addictions and other compulsive behaviors.
In May 2016, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) revealed that Abilify and other aripiprazole-containing drugs were associated with 184 adverse event reports that involved impulse control disorders, mostly gambling addictions.
In most cases, the patients did not have a prior history of compulsive behaviors before they began treatment. What’s more, the majority said their compulsive urges subsided one the Abilify dose was reduced or treatment ended.
“Although pathological gambling is listed as a reported side effect in the current aripiprazole drug labels, this description does not entirely reflect the nature of the impulse-control risk that we identified,” the FDA state. “In addition, we have become aware of other compulsive behaviors associated with aripiprazole, such as compulsive eating, shopping, and sexual actions.”
More than 2,000 Abilify gambling lawsuits are now pending in the Northern District of Florida.
Plaintiffs claim that the drug’s manufacturers knew Abilify could lead to compulsive gambling and other destructive impulse control disorders, but failed to adequately warn of these risks.
As bellwether cases, verdicts in the six upcoming trials could provide insight into how other juries might decide similar Abilify lawsuits.
Previously, the court scheduled three cases for bellwether trials that were to begin earlier this year. However, the parties in those claims agreed to Abilify settlements just weeks before they went to trial.