Every day, more heartbreaking stories of victims whose personal lives got destroyed by the side effects of Abilify keep piling up. The storm of lawsuits filed in court doesn’t seem to slow down, and new plaintiffs came forward week after week to seek just compensation for all the damage sustained.
The first case was filed in the Minnesota Federal Court by Denise and Brad Miley on January 12, 2016. The couple lost over $75,000 in less than five months after the woman started compulsively gambling all their savings in September 2014. Just a few weeks before, she was prescribed Abilify (aripiprazole), the famous antipsychotic that earned Bristol-Myers Squibb over $2.3 billion in just one year.
Dozens of other patients, however, suffered a similar fate, and had to face extreme financial and emotional distress as the medication wrecked their very lives. According to their claims, the apparently innovative medication was, in fact, unsafe, as it was associated with a substantial risk of developing uncontrollable behaviors such as compulsive gambling, shopping, eating and hypersexuality. In May 2016, even the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acknowledged this risk and changed the drug’s label accordingly.
However, for many of these people, the warning came way too late, as they already lost most (if not all) of their hard-earned savings. Denise Miley, for example, gambled away her children’s college fund to wager up to $4,000 a hand. She took a secret loan for $50,000 to pay for her secret addiction to casinos, and eventually lost about $156,000.
Others such as plaintiff Violeta A., instead, had to pay an even higher price (Case No. 3:17-cv-00845-MCR-GRJ). Other than losing $75,000 and incurring into severe monetary instability, the woman from California claims she suffered grave injuries to her brain that will permanently hamper the quality of her life.
Eventually, since new suits got constantly filed over the course of the entire 2016, on October 3rd, the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation centralized them all in a mass tort. The MDL No. 2734 is held in Pensacola, Florida, and it’s presided by Chief District Judge Casey M. Rodgers. The number of centralized lawsuits kept growing, and counts more than 400 cases as per December 2017. Plaintiffs allege that Abilify is responsible for all the harm they suffered, and claim that the pharmaceutical companies who manufactured it failed to properly warn them of the possible risks.
Article by Dr. Claudio Butticè, Pharm.D.