Bristol-Myers Squibb to Pay $20M in Abilify Settlement

Abilify manufacturer, Bristol-Myers Squibb has reached a nearly $20 million Abilify settlement. This Abilify settlement is with 42 U.S. states and the District of Columbia after accusations the company improperly marketed the blockbuster antipsychotic drug Abilify (aripiprazole). The court found that Bristol-Myers Squibb unlawfully marketed Abilify to seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s diseases. This is even though the FDA did not approve the drug for that use.

The approved use of Abilify is to treat adult agitation caused by schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or major depression.  However, the FDA strongly recommends that the elderly do not use this drug. There is even a black-box warning on the medication stating that elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis using this drug have an increased risk of death.

Bristol-Myers Squibb denied all wrongdoing, but the courts disagreed.

History of Illegal Marketing

This isn’t the first time the pharmaceutical company has settled because of illegal marketing. In 2007, Bristol-Myers Squibb agreed to pay over $500 million to settle federal charges. These charges involve promoting Abilify to child psychiatrists, other pediatric specialists, and nursing homes.

Also in the 2007 settlement, the company admitted to engaging in a pattern of kickbacks and false reporting, which drove up both sales and prices for Abilify. The inflated prices would allow the company to receive higher reimbursements from government health programs like Medicaid. The more profits they received that more Bristol-Myers Squibb bribed doctors, health care providers, and pharmacies to push Abilify.

Current Abilify Concerns

Currently, Abilify is under a new investigation. Patients say the drug led to compulsive behaviors. Several studies agree. They are linking Abilify to pathological gambling, excessive shopping, overeating and hypersexuality in people with no previous history of this issue prior to taking the drug.

In a 2013 French study, seven out of the eight patients who took the drug developed sudden and compulsive gambling behaviors. An English study also discovered this overwhelming drive to gamble. Many of these patients felt completely preoccupied with thoughts of gambling. It was so severe that some patients even considered committing crimes for gambling funds.

The addiction can be so extreme that those taking Abilify continue the behavior even when it becomes a detriment to themselves. They max out credit cards, take out second mortgages on their homes and sometimes feel compelled to use unethical measures to get money to feed their addiction. The behavior becomes their sole reason to live.

In all cases, the compulsive behavior ceased after discontinuing Abilify or switching to another drug.

Abilify Lawsuits

Forty-three compulsive-behavior lawsuits against Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka America Pharmaceutical have been combined into a single multi-district litigation in the Pensacola-based Northern District of Florida. The companies are accused of failing to warn users of the compulsive side effects.

If you or a loved one never had a gambling problem or experienced other compulsive behaviors before taking Abilify you may be eligible for compensation to ease the financial and emotional burdens you are experiencing. Contact us today to set up a free consultation, during which we will listen to you, answer any questions you may have and discuss your legal rights and options. If you choose us to represent you, we will work with you on a contingency fee basis; this means you pay nothing until we have secured compensation for you, either through a jury verdict or settlement.

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