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Abilify Gambling Lawsuits May Settle After Judge’s Order


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Judge signing order

Hundreds of lawsuits filed by people who say the antipsychotic Abilify made them gamble compulsively may settle in the next few months.

A federal judge overseeing multidistrict litigation issued an order May 2 giving the parties until Sept. 1 to finalize a framework for a global settlement.

Multidistrict litigation (MDL) is how the federal courts manage large numbers of cases filed around the country that involve similar questions of fact.

In this case, there are more than 800 pending federal lawsuits filed by people who say Abilify caused them to gamble compulsively.

There are a total of more than 900 state and federal cases filed in the U.S., with more cases pending in Canada, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission by Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Judge’s Order Issued After Settlements

The order comes days after three cases that were scheduled for trial reached their own individual settlements that involved undisclosed amounts of money being paid to the plaintiffs.

The three cases that settled were to serve as bellwethers. These are the early trials in an MDL that are expected to guide parties in settlement negotiations by allowing them to see how various issues will be determined and how juries will rule.

Chief U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers is managing the Abilify MLD in Pensacola, Fla.

Rogers issued an order on April 28 announcing that the three bellwether cases had settled. Those cases involved plaintiffs Fanny Lyons, Jennifer Lilly and David Viechec.

Lyons’ trial had been slated to begin June 19. The last trial, Lilly’s, was to start on Aug. 27.

Abilify Linked to Gambling, Other Behaviors

The defendants in the cases are Japanese drugmaker Otsuka and Bristol-Myers Squibb, which marketed the drug in the U.S. until 2013.

Abilify was introduced in 2002, and by 2013, it brought in nearly $8 billion a year in sales.

It is prescribed to treat conditions including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and major depression. Doctors also prescribe it off-label for anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and dementia, among other conditions.

Abilify’s severe side effects include compulsive gambling, sex and shopping.

Elaine Silvestrini
Written By Elaine Silvestrini Writer

Elaine Silvestrini is an award-winning journalist with 30 years of experience covering state and federal court systems. She joined Drugwatch in 2017. Her coverage for Drugwatch has been cited in the CDC’s Public Health Law News and the USA Today Network. Some of her qualifications include:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention certificates in Health Literacy
  • Experience as an assistant investigator for the Federal Public Defender
  • Loyola Law School Journalist Law School Fellowship
Edited By

4 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 for the Northern District of Florida, Pensacola Division. (2018, April 28). In Re Abilify (Aripiprazol) Products Liability Litigation. Order. Retrieved:
  2. U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, Pensacola Division. (2018, May 2). In Re Abilify (Aripiprazol) Products Liability Litigation. Global Settlement Order No. 1. Retrieved:
  3. United States Securities and Exchange Commission. (2018, April 26). Form 10-Q. Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. Retrieved
  4. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. (2018, April 16). MDL Statistics Report – Distribution of Pending MDL Dockets by Actions Pending. Retrieved
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