Seroquel Litigation: 8,787 Lawsuits Filed against AstraZeneca

September 4th, 2008 to court documents filed last week, AstraZeneca currently faces 8,787 Seroquel lawsuits that have been filed in federal and state courts, which allege that their antipsychotic medication led to personal injuries, such as pancreatitis and diabetes.

Seroquel (generic quetiapine fumarate) is an atypical antipsychotic medication which was approved by the FDA in 1997 for treatment of schizophrenia. It is also commonly used off-label for treatment of anxiety, obsessive dementia, compulsive disorders and autism.

Research has established that Seroquel side effects can increase the risk of weight gain, hyperglycemia and diabetes.

Other drugs in the same class of atypical antipsychotics, which include Zyprexa and Risperdal, have also been associated with these side effects, but the diabetes risk has been the highest in the case of Seroquel.

AstraZeneca indicates that they have been served with complaints involving over 13,000 plaintiff groups. As of August 27, 2008, about 5,841 Seroquel lawsuits have been filed in federal court involving 5,847 plaintiffs, and another 2,946 Seroquel cases have been file in various state courts involving 7,492 more plaintiff groups.

In federal court, the Seroquel litigation has been consolidated in an MDL, or Multidistrict Litigation, that is centralized in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida before Judge Anne Conway. Approximately 5,829 of the lawsuits are currently in the MDL, where they are being handled together for pretrial proceedings. If the cases do not resolve during pretrial litigation, the MDL procedures require that the cases be sent back to the court where they were filed for trial.

In an attempt to facilitate a resolution of the cases, Judge Conway has established a case management order which calls for the first Seroquel trials involving cases filed in Florida to begin in February 2009. A group of 12 cases have been selected, involving six cases designated and ranked by the Plaintiffs Steering Committee and six by the defendants. The Seroquel litigation will start with the trial of the top ranked case selected by the plaintiffs, and then trials will alternate back and forth until those cases have been tried.

Zyprexa litigation, which involved similar claims of diabetes and weight gain associated with the other type of atypical antipsychotic resolved earlier this year before the first individual injury trials began. Eli Lilly, who manufactures Zyprexa, paid about $1.2 billion in to settle about 30,000 individual Zyprexa lawsuits.

PsychRights Sues State of Alaska


Jim Gottstein

PsychRights Sues State of Alaska to Stop Its Massive, Harmful Psychiatric Drugging of Alaskan Children

The Law Project for Psychiatric Rights (PsychRights) announced that due to the State of Alaska’s unwillingness, or inability, to enter into substantive talks, it has filed its lawsuit against the State of Alaska and officials responsible for the excessive, ineffective, and extremely harmful psychiatric drugging of Alaskan children and youth.  The lawsuit seeks an injunction stopping the practice of Alaska authorizing or paying for psychotropic drugs to be given children without safeguards being in place to make sure proper decision making occurs.

Jim Gottstein, the president of PsychRights and the attorney bringing the lawsuit, said, “The corrupt influence of the pharmaceutical industry in illegally promoting much of this psychiatric drugging of children has been well established, yet the State of Alaska continues to inflict great harm on the children it has taken away from their families by giving them these drugs.”  It is ludicrous that the State sued a drug company for fraud in hiding the harm caused by one of these drugs and still gives that same drug and other toxic drugs like it, to children.

Dr. Karen Effrem, pediatrician and board member of the Alliance for Human Research Protection (AHRP) and the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology (ICSPP), said, “These dangerous and ineffective drugs are tragically overused to merely control behavior of children who are distraught about being taken away from their families.  Missing one’s family or reacting to trauma are wrongly labeled as biological brain disorders that need treatment with powerful medications.  Drugs will not put their families back together or help them overcome their trauma and grief.  These brain and body damaging pharmaceuticals compound the abuse and trauma.  To paraphrase a popular motivational saying, what these kids truly need are ‘hugs, not drugs; hope not dope,’ (even legal dope)”

For those who would like more information, in addition to the Complaint, there is a set of Questions and Answers about the lawsuit and Mr. Gottstein is scheduled to speak October 10th on “Critical ThinkRx and PsychRights’ Lawsuit Against the State of Alaska’s Psychiatric Drugging of Children” at the ICSPP conference being held October 10-12 in Tampa, Florida.

The Law Project for Psychiatric Rights is a public interest law firm devoted to the defense of people facing the horrors of unwarranted forced psychiatric drugging and electroshock. PsychRights is further dedicated to exposing the truth about psychiatric interventions and the courts being misled into ordering people subjected to these brain and body damaging drugs against their will. Extensive information about these dangers, and about the tragic damage caused by electroshock, is available on the PsychRights web site: