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AstraZeneca Keeps Upper Hand in Seroquel War, But Cost of Each Case Is Rising

AstraZeneca (AZN) continues to have the upper hand in the Seroquel war -- it has now dismissed 26 percent of the pending cases against it, a larger portion than any of the previous nine months.

The company disclosed in Q4 2009 there are 10,399 cases pending (featuring allegations that the company failed to warn patients that Seroquel may cause weight gain and diabetes) and 2,664 have been dismissed.

But as AZ's success against its detractors increases, so does the cost of that success. Dismissals are now costing $246,000 each in legal bills, up from $232,000 per case in Q2 2009.

This chart gives a summary of AZ's progress. (The column marked "Costs" is also in dollars):

Bottom line: AZ is winning, but at a price.