At least 42 lawsuits pending in 14 district courts nationwide will be transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida for coordination.
The Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2734) will be overseen by Judge M. Casey Rodgers, according to an order issued on October 3 by a panel of federal judges.
Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals are accused of failing to warn that Abilify can cause uncontrollable impulsive behaviors.
All of the lawsuits were filed by people who became addicted to gambling while using Abilify. Other impulse-control disorders have also been reported — binge eating, hyper-sexuality, and excessive shopping or spending.
The FDA ordered drug-makers to update warnings in May 2016. The agency said it had received 184 reports of uncontrollable behaviors in patients on Abilify since it was approved in 2002. Dozens of those cases involve gambling addiction.
In some cases, gambling losses had life-altering consequences. One recent lawsuit was filed by a man from Tennessee who lost $375,000 in six months (Case No. 1:16-cv-00384) while using Abilify. There are also case reports of people who stole money to fund their habit, described euphoric feelings while gambling, or said it was “a reason to live.”