More Seroquel suits settled for $10K each

It appears AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN) has settled another batch of Seroquel lawsuits, again for a price tag of some $10,000 per plaintiff. Bloomberg reports that the drugmaker agreed to pay $55 million to resolve about 5,500 lawsuits, including the 4,000 cases mentioned in a recent regulatory filing. The company confirmed the settlements but said the terms are confidential.

These settlements, reached as part of court-ordered mediation in 26,000 Seroquel liability suits, could soon be followed by more. Spokesman Tony Jewell tells Bloomberg that mediation sessions are scheduled throughout the summer, and sources tell the news service that AZ is trying to settle as many cases as possible for $10,000 each.

Analysts said the "modest" amount of these settlements reflects the plaintiffs' difficulty in proving that the atypical antipsychotic actually caused their diabetes. "The real issue is proving liability," Matrix Corporate Capital's Navid Malik tells Bloomberg.

But some lawyers aren't happy with the $10,000. Attorney Ken Bailey says his plaintiffs are planning to go to trial. "We have not been involved in any negotiations and expect most of our cases to end up in the federal court in Boston," Bailey says. Whether those suits will bear bigger fruit for the plaintiffs remains to be seen; so far, courts have tended to side with AstraZeneca, dismissing three cases and returning one jury verdict in favor of the company.

- read the Bloomberg piece