By Jef Feeley and Margaret Cronin Fisk
February 3, 2010
AstraZeneca Plc is facing as many as 26,000 lawsuits over its antipsychotic drug Seroquel as the drugmaker prepares for its first jury trial over claims the medicine causes diabetes, according to court filings.
Attorneys for AstraZeneca, the U.K.’s second-largest drugmaker, met with plaintiffs’ lawyers in court-ordered mediation sessions last month to discuss a possible settlement of the Seroquel cases, according to court filings. Consumers’ lawyers said they had about 26,000 cases in their inventories, Stephen Saltzburg, a George Washington University Law School professor who served as mediator, said in the filing.
“I wish there were a magic wand that could be waived to settle all Seroquel cases instantly,” Saltzburg said in the filing. “Such wand does not exist.”
AstraZeneca’s stock fell last week after the drugmaker’s sales forecast and stock-buyback plan disappointed some analysts and fourth-quarter profit missed estimates. The company plans to buy back as much as $1 billion of shares this year, officials said Jan. 28.
The company said in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing last week it faces more than 25,000 claims that Seroquel caused diabetes.
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