AstraZeneca Plc. agreed to pay about $198 million for settlement of 17,500 lawsuits related to side effects of Seroquel. These cases constitute two-thirds of the total cases against Seroquel. The antipsychotic drug Seroquel manufactured by AstraZeneca is blamed to causes diabetes in some users.

Seroquel is an oral drug containing quetiapine as main active ingredient. It is used for treatment of Schizophrenia in adults or children older than 13 years. Doctors prescribe Seroquel for treatment of bipolar disorder or manic depression in children above 10 years and adults. It is also used with other antidepressant drugs. Doctors prescribe it for other purposes as well.  It was introduced for treatment of Schizophrenia in the market in 1997.

The use of Seroquel has been associated with hyperglycemia in patients using this drug. Many studies have also revealed that its use could cause high level of sugar in blood or diabetes, in patients using this drug. Reports about its association with these side effects started coming in since this drug came into circulation. FDA too issued safety alerts and warnings related to this drug.

The first Seroquel product liability case to go to trial from the mass tort that includes thousands of cases ended in defense verdict. This was the only case to go to the trial. AstraZeneca decided to settle most of Seroquel lawsuits out of the court. This settlement was one such effort by the pharmaceutical company.

The settlement involved court ordered mediation. Previously AstraZeneca agreed to settle around 5500 cases for $55 million. These lawsuits were blaming that patients using Seroquel developed Hyperglycemia or diabetes. Later the settlement was fixed as $198 million to settle 17500 cases. Earlier settled 5500 cases are a part of this settlement.

AstraZeneca was trying to settle all 26000 cases related Seroquel. This settlement let AstraZeneca get rid of a large amount of cases easily for a small sum compared to number of cases. An average payment per case is around $10,000 to $11,000 for former Seroquel users.

The terms of the settlement were kept confidential and were non-monetary agreements. The spokesperson for AstraZeneca said that it was in the best interest of the company to resolve these cases with mediation.

The settlement did not affected AstraZeneca’s sales proceeds. It sold Seroquel like hot cake and earned a good deal of money, even after the settlement. AstraZeneca’s total earning in 2010 was $4.87 billion.

AstraZeneca had won first trial on Seroquel. The New Jersey jury concluded that the company had given enough warnings to the doctors about risk of diabetes caused due to use of this drug. The company stated that it had paid about $656 million to defend itself in lawsuits related to Seroquel side effects. It also agreed to pay another $520 million to resolve Seroquel lawsuits in U.S. It had decided to resolve allegations of illegal marketing of Seroquel for unapproved uses.

FDA had also issued warnings to the company to add new warnings of risks associated with use of Seroquel. It was also blamed of omitting the information on risks of neuroleptic malignant syndrome and other such conditions.