AstraZenecan, the second largest pharmaceutical group in the UK, has agreed to settle part of a dispute over its anti-psychosis drug Seroquel, involving payments of USD198 million to 17,500 different claimants in the US. Plaintiffs in the case have argued that they were not warned the drug could cause diabetes in some users.
Although AstraZeneca has said its labelling made clear any potential associations between Seroquel and diabetes, the company has defended over 10,000 lawsuits involving more than 22,000 defendants, and knew of 176 further cases that had been filed but not yet served by the end of this June.
Seroquel, which has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia in adults, bipolar disorder among 10- to 17-year-olds and schizophrenia in adolescents aged 13 to 17, generated USD2.7 billion in global sales in the first half of 2010, a 10 per cent rise from last year. With the drug being AstraZeneca’s second bestseller, this figure represents about 15 per cent of the company’s global revenues.
In a statement, AstraZeneca said “We believe it was in the best interest of the company to explore resolving these cases through the mediation process. We remain committed to a strong defence effort, but will also continue to participate in good faith in court-ordered mediation.”

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