AstraZeneca Agrees to Settle Seroquel Claims for $198 Million

AstraZeneca (AZN) announced Monday it had reached agreements to settle approximately 17,500 Seroquel product liability suits in the U.S. for some $198 million. The suits allege that anti-psychotic Seroquel causes weight-gain diabetes in some patients.

The agreements in principle are subject to finalization of non-monetary terms, the company added.

The company said it made no provisions as of the end of the last quarter, but that any provision would not affect core earnings. Astra reiterated its core earnings per share guidance for 2010 at $6.35 to $6.65.

Previously, the London-based pharmaceutical company agreed to pay at least $55 million to resolve more than 5,500 cases alleging the company knew about Seroquel's risks but failed to adequately warn patients, Bloomberg reported. The average payments so far are $10,000 to $11,000 for former Seroquel users.

The schizophrenia and bipolar disorder drug had worldwide sales of $4.9 billion in 2009, accounting for 15% of AstraZeneca's revenue.

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