AstraZeneca wins bellwether Seroquel case

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AstraZeneca has prevailed: The first jury to hear a Seroquel case decided that the warnings on its label were adequate, so patients and doctors should have had enough information about the drug's risks. "The jury determined... that the information in the Seroquel label provided prescribing doctors an adequate warning with respect to diabetes," AstraZeneca's lawyer told Bloomberg after the verdict.

Lawyers for the plaintiff, Vietnam veteran Ted Baker, had alleged that AZ had downplayed Seroquel's risks, failing to adequately warn doctors and patients of a risk of weight gain and diabetes. There are some 10,000 similar lawsuits in jurisdictions around the country, all awaiting trial. "We'll continue to take this issue to jury after jury as many times as we have to," Baker's lawyer said in response to the verdict.

The Seroquel litigation has been in the news for awhile; it has cost the company hundreds of millions in legal fees and unearthed unflattering internal documents. But the cases themselves haven't fared well in the courts: Previous suits haven't survived the pretrial process. "In case after case, jurors, judges and even plaintiffs' lawyers themselves have found that plaintiffs simply cannot show through any accepted scientific method that AstraZeneca is responsible for their alleged injuries," the company said in a statement.

Nine suits have been dismissed, in both federal and state courts, while about 2,600 more were abandoned by plaintiff's counsel, the Wall Street Journal reports. No other cases are currently scheduled for trial.

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