March 19, 2010 – In the first product liability case to go to trial concerning a claim that its antipsychotic drug Seroquel caused diabetes, a U.S. jury has unfortunately sided with AstraZeneca.
The New Jersey state court rejected the plaintiff’s claims that Seroquel (quetiapine) caused his alleged injuries. The jury decided 7-1 that the drugmaker’s label warning for the antipsychotic were sufficient enough to alert users to its risk of diabetes.
Lawyers for the plaintiff argued that AstraZeneca mishandled the medicine, ignoring or downplaying its links to diabetes and weight gain. The U.K.’s second largest drugmaker said it warned of the drug’s potential risks and marketed it properly. The plaintiff’s disease stemmed from his lifestyle and diet, the company said.
Despite the victory for the drugmaker, AstraZeneca is still facing approximately 10,000 state and federal lawsuits involving over 20,000 plaintiffs who claim that the company illegally marketed Seroquel and neglected to warn users about serious medical conditions ranging from severe weight gain to diabetes.
One of the plaintiff’s lawyers in the case, said the Louisiana resident was disappointed with the decision, but that other Seroquel users would continue to press their claims about the drug’s risk.
“There are numerous cases that will be tried in multiple jurisdictions,” they said in an interview after the verdict. “We’ll continue to take this issue to jury after jury as many times as we have to until AstraZeneca takes responsibility for this drug.”