The lawsuit was filed by Marlene C., a woman from East Hanover, New Jersey who started taking Abilify in 2014. She lost over $10,000 gambling and shopping by the time she stopped taking Abilify in 2016. The uncontrollable behaviors ended soon afterward.
Bristol-Myers Squibb is accused of intentionally concealing and failing to warn about the dangerous risk of addictive behaviors on Abilify.
Abilify contains aripiprazole, an anti-psychotic medication that balances levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain. This may result in intense cravings for pleasurable activities like gambling, shopping, eating, sex, or alcohol, which may lead to addiction.
Medications that work like Abilify have been linked to addictive behaviors for decades. In 2011, the British Journal of Psychiatry published some alarming reports for Abilify:
[The 29 year-old man] was pre-occupied with thoughts of gambling and his gambling activity became both impulsive and involved extensive planning in obtaining funds to gamble, including the use of crime.”
The label on Abilify did not even mention the word “gambling” until January 2016. In May 2016, the FDA issued a Safety Communication about uncontrollable impulse-control disorders — especially gambling, but also sex, shopping, and eating.
A few months later, Bristol-Myer Squibb paid a $20 million settlement with 43 states for improperly marketing Abilify for unapproved “off-label” uses.
Lawyers accuse drug-makers of putting profits over patient safety and failing to warn about addictive side effects that can destroy a person’s finances, relationships, and health.
The lawsuit was filed on April 19, 2017 in the Superior Court of New Jersey (Bergen County) — Case No. BER-L-2739-17
At least 175 other Abilify lawsuits are now pending against Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. and Bristol-Myers Squibb in one federal Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2734) — In RE: Abilify Products Liability Litigation.
The plaintiff is represented by attorney Ruth Rizkalla of the law firm Kirtland & Packard LLP in El Segundo, California; and attorney Rayna E. Kessler of the law firm Robins Kaplan LLP in New York, New York.