AZ discloses deals in 4,000 Seroquel suits

AstraZeneca promised it would stick with mediation in those Seroquel liability suits--and it obviously did. After settling 200 Seroquel suits a couple of weeks ago, the company now has disclosed agreements to dispose of almost 4,000 more. The 200 suits settled for some $2 million; the latest deal is confidential, the company says.

The company has been fighting some 10,000 lawsuits filed by Seroquel patients, who allege that the antipsychotic drug caused their diabetes. So far, the plaintiffs haven't done well in court: Three suits were dismissed because judges weren't impressed with the evidence, and AstraZeneca prevailed in another. Perhaps that's why lawyers agreed to settle those first 200 suits for about $10,000 per plaintiff.

If the new settlement carries similar terms, it would come to $40 million. Considering that AstraZeneca had spent about $688 million defending Seroquel litigation as of March, according to Bloomberg, that would be a bargain. And considering that analysts once worried about a Seroquel liability of up to $2 billion, a bargain indeed.

Of course that's just speculation, and with the settlement terms guarded for now, there's no way of knowing for sure. All AstraZeneca specified in its Q2 report is that the settlement "would not be material in the context of the [c]ompany's quarterly results," Mealey's reports.

What the company says publicly is "AstraZeneca remains committed to a strong defense effort," spokesman Tony Jewell told Bloomberg, "but will also continue to participate in good faith in the court-ordered mediation process."

- read the Bloomberg story
- get more from Mealey's