AstraZeneca’s second quarter report indicates the drug company has spent a whopping $593 million defending Seroquel, its antipsychotic/”everything else under the sun” drug that is involved in over 14,000 lawsuits around the country.
Remember you heard it here first: I think there will be settlements in these Seroquel lawsuits in the near future. This is a total guess. But this is the 21st century game plan for mass torts. Wage Churchillian war, don’t offer a single Serqouel settlement, position yourself to win the early rounds (give Seroquel’s defense lawyers credit for this, they have been two steps ahead of plaintiffs’ Seroquel lawyers in the early rounds), and then settle the cases while you have momentum. Pfizer ran this game plan in the Vioxx cases, sans the “verdict free” part.
AstraZeneca knows that its early successes in defeating Seroquel lawsuits have given it momentum. The flaw in my “the Seroquel cases will settle soon” theory is that most people who are on top tend to overplay their hand. AstraZeneca may feel like the guy who gets hot on the blackjack table and assumes it will never end. There are still 14,000 Seroquel cases out there and not all are going to be cases where the plaintiff’s diet “consisted of slurpies and donuts, fish and fries from McDonald’s, Burger King and (a) lot of Chinese food.”