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Abilify Lawsuits Set for Trial this Summer


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Florida courthouse

The first lawsuit in a large federal case over antipsychotic drug Abilify is scheduled for trial June 18, 2018.

Abilify treats mental disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. About 750 lawsuits claim the drug caused compulsive behavior, including compulsive gambling.

The cases are combined in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in a Florida federal court. The MDL judge this week selected three lawsuits to go to trial. All have trial dates this summer.

Abilify Cases and 2018 Trial Dates:

  • Lyons v. Bristol-Myers Squibb – Jun. 18
  • Viechec v. Bristol-Myers Squibb – Aug. 6
  • Lilly v. Bristol-Myers Squibb – Aug. 27

The lawsuits target both Bristol-Myers Squibb and Japanese drugmaker Otsuka Pharmaceuticals. Otsuka invented Abilify. Bristol-Myers Squibb stopped marketing the drug in 2013.

Lawsuits Blame Abilify for Compulsive Behavior

The lawsuits claim Abilify caused uncontrollable compulsive behavior. People reported losing thousands of dollars through compulsive gambling or spending. Others reported hypersexuality, urges to steal or shoplift, and binge eating.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has tracked Abilify’s association with impulse-control side effects since 2002. The agency’s database showed nearly 500 reports of gambling disorder through the end of 2017.

Abilify’s label did not carry a warning about a compulsive gambling side effect until 2016. People claim the side effect cost them thousands of dollars.  People filed lawsuits to recover money they lost due to the behavior. They also seek expenses for treatment they needed for compulsive behavior.

Lawsuits Chosen for Convenience, Speedy Trials

The MDL judge noted the trials are not “true bellwether” trials. Bellwethers are representative samples of all the lawsuits in an MDL. They serve as test cases for the legal arguments in the MDL. Bellwethers can determine settlements or cause people to drop their cases.

Judge M. Casey Rodgers said in court documents the court chose all three lawsuits for convenience. They were all filed in the same district where the MDL was consolidated. This allows for a speedier trial schedule. All three trials are set for federal court in Pensacola.

Terry Turner
Written By Terry Turner Writer

Terry Turner has been writing articles and producing news broadcasts for more than 25 years. He covers FDA policy, proton pump inhibitors, and medical devices such as hernia mesh, IVC filters, and hip and knee implants. An Emmy-winning journalist, he has reported on health and medical policy issues before Congress, the FDA and other federal agencies. Some of his qualifications include:

  • American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) and The Alliance of Professional Health Advocates member
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Health Literacy certificates
  • Original works published or cited in Washington Examiner, MedPage Today and The New York Times
  • Appeared as an expert panelist on hernia mesh lawsuits on the BBC
Edited By
Emily Miller
Emily Miller Managing Editor

6 Cited Research Articles writers follow rigorous sourcing guidelines and cite only trustworthy sources of information, including peer-reviewed journals, court records, academic organizations, highly regarded nonprofit organizations, government reports and interviews with qualified experts. Review our editorial policy to learn more about our process for producing accurate, current and balanced content.

  1. U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida. (2018, March 13). Order; In re: Abilify (Aripiprazole) Products Liability Litigation. Retrieved from
  2. U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida. (2018, March 13). Lyons v. Bristol-Myers Squibb: Case No. 3:16cv414-MCR-GRJ. Retrieved from
  3. U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida. (2018, March 13). Viechec v. Bristol-Myers Squibb; Case No. 3:16cv291-MCR-GRJ. Retrieved from
  4. U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida. (2018, March 13). Lilly v. Bristol-Myers Squibb; Case No. 3:17cv186-MCR-GRJ. Retrieved from
  5. HarrisMartin Publishing. (2018, March 14). Fla. Federal Judge Selects Three Abilify MDL Cases for Trial. Retrieved from
  6. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2017, December 31). Abilify. FDA Adverse Events Reporting Systems (FAERS) Public Dashboard. Retrieved from
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