Internal documents suggest AstraZeneca knew Seroquel can cause diabetes in 2000
Bloomberg.com reported this week that internal company documents suggest that AstraZeneca knew as early as 2000 that Seroquel posed an unacceptable risk of diabetes for patients taking the anti-psychotic. Seroquel earned the company $4.03 billion dollars last year, perhaps explaining why AstraZeneca has fought removing it from the market and contested the 15,000+ consumer claims alleging unacceptable side-effects. Eli Lilly has reportedly paid $1.2 billion dollars to settle 31,000 claims related to its similar anti-psychotic, Zyprexa. Johnson & Johnson produces a third, similar drug known as Risperdal, and also faces a multitude of consumer actions. According to the internal memoranda, 2.4 percent of patients who began treatment with normal blood sugar levels registered as technically diabetic after one year of treatment with Seroquel.
1.4 percent of patients taking a placebo showed the same increase, making it 70 percent more likely that a Seroquel patient would become diabetic in the first year of treatment. No one has reported numbers for consecutive years of treatment. AstraZeneca spokesmen say the company will not compromise the pending claims. The FDA required an appropriate drug warning on the packaging of these antipsychotics in 2003. A pending US Supreme Court case may result in "preemption" of consumer lawsuits based on inadequate or misleading product warnings or disclosures.