Abilify manufacturer, Bristol-Myers Squibb has reached a nearly $20 million settlement with a group of U.S. states. This comes after accusations that the company improperly marketed its medication. This is the second time the company has committed devious marketing practices.
Abilify (Aripiprazole) is a commonly prescribed antipsychotic used to treat agitation caused by schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or major depression. The drug is effective at controlling symptoms of these mental disorders; however, it comes with a dangerous, side effect that many never see coming compulsive behaviors such as gambling, binge eating, excessive shopping, and hypersexuality.
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 Settlement
Bristol-Myers Squibb has denied any wrongdoing. However, the pharmaceutical giant will pay $19.5 million to 42 states and the District of Columbia. The states accused the company of marketing Abilify to seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease even though the FDA had not approved those uses. This is even after the FDA gave the medication a black box warning that the elderly using Abilify have an increased risk of death.
Compulsive Gambling 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 or take out second mortgages on their homes. Sometimes they even 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.
Future Abilify Settlement
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 victims of Abilify accuse the companies of failing to warn of 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.