Judges offer AZ more time to settle Seroquel suits

U.S. judges are giving AstraZeneca more time to settle Seroquel litigation, rather than sending thousands of consolidated cases back to their home courts for trial. As Bloomberg reports, a judicial panel voted to let the cases stay in Florida for the time being, where U.S. District Judge Anne Conway has been overseeing pretrial work--and court-mandated mediation has been bearing fruit.

"A remand at this juncture would likely disrupt the settlement dialog," Conway writes in an order asking the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to let the cases stay put. If the lawsuits were sent back for trial, that could "stall negotiations altogether," she writes. 

AstraZeneca has settled some two-thirds of the Seroquel cases pending through that court-ordered mediation. The company says it will continue to work with the mediator now that 6,000 cases will stay put. So far, that mediation has yielded settlement payouts of only about $11,000 per patient, much less than analysts had predicted.

- read the Bloomberg story