Until recently, Abilify’s prescribing information did not mention gambling as a possible side effect—despite the fact that scientific literature has linked the drug to compulsive gambling since at least 2010.
The FDA, citing hundreds of adverse event reports, ordered new Abilify warnings for compulsive gambling, shopping, eating, and sex in May 2016.
Meanwhile, Abilify patients who suffered financial and personal losses as a result of gambling, shopping, or sex addictions (or other compulsive behaviors) have filed lawsuits against drug maker Bristol-Myer Squibb.
A lawsuit can provide compensation for these Abilify-related damages:
- Gambling losses, loss of financial stability, and other economic losses
- Neuropsychiatric injury
- Physical injury (due to the injurious impact of Abilify on the brain)
- Emotional distress
- A spouse’s loss of consortium
Abilify lawsuits are not without precedent. Similar lawsuits involving the drug Mirapex were settled several years ago—some for an undisclosed amount, and at least one for more than $8 million.
Here is a quick rundown of the relevant settlements.
Unlawful Marketing Settlement – $19.5 Million (Dec. 2016)
In December 2016, Bristol-Myers Squibb reached a $19.5 settlement with the U.S. Justice Department over its unlawful marketing of Abilify and its downplaying of the drug’s myriad risks.
This settlement, while not an admission of guilt, will likely serve to bolster Abilify lawsuits across the country.
Mirapex Settlement – $8.2 Million (June 2008)
Mirapex is a prescription drug used to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Like Abilify, Mirapex is a dopamine agonist. Abilify and Mirapex stimulate the same types of dopamine receptors in the brain, and both have been linked to pathological gambling and other compulsive behaviors.
Bristol-Myers Squibb also settled 250 additional Mirapex lawsuits for an undisclosed amount.
Like Abilify lawsuits, Mirapex lawsuits claim that the drug’s manufacturer knew about the risks of compulsive gambling (or should have known from the scores of studies indicating a link), but failed to properly study them or warn patients about them.
A federal jury awarded $8.2 million in compensatory and punitive damages to a plaintiff who claimed that Mirapex caused him to gamble compulsively over a four-year period and lose $260,000.
Several months after this settlement was awarded, 250 additional Mirapex lawsuits, consolidated as part of a multi-district litigation, settled for an undisclosed amount.
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The awards and settlements above do not guarantee the same results for Abilify plaintiffs, but the similarity of the lawsuits does create a compelling precedent for attorneys and plaintiffs alike.
If you or someone you know took Abilify and began to gamble uncontrollably, you may be eligible for legal action. Contact us to learn your rights and options during a free, no-obligation case review.