We have written on numerous occasions about the ongoing Zoloft litigation. There are hundreds of individual cases that have been filed alleging safety-related issue. If allegations in a class action lawsuit prove true that Zoloft, an SSRI antidepressant, is of little value for the treatment of depression over and above a sugar pill, then the tragedy of SSRI birth defects takes on added significance. The class-action lawsuit, attacking the effectiveness and efficacy of Zoloft, alleges that benefits to the intended patients are far less than a basket of SSRI side effects, some of which carry dire consequences. Zoloft, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and a major source of revenue for pharmaceutical giant Pfizer since 1991, is in a class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). As a class, the drugs have been touted as being more effective at treating depression than their various predecessors.
However, the Zoloft consumer fraud class-action lawsuit, recently filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division, alleges that Zoloft is not much more effective than a simple placebo (sugar pill), and that defendant Pfizer went to great lengths to minimize negative or failed drug trials and expand any positive outcomes, however insignificant, on the way to building a sizable market for a product that allegedly carries few benefits. Chris Coffin, a New Orleans lawyer with Pendley, Baudin & Coffin, said in an interview with Brenda Craig:
In promoting the drug, they did not adequately represent all the facts. Pfizer has not given the full picture of the drug to consumers or to healthcare providers.
Pendley, Baudin & Coffin is one of two law firms representing Laura A. Plumlee, the lead Plaintiff in the lawsuit in the class. It’s alleged in the complaint that Ms. Plumlee was prescribed Zoloft for depression beginning in 2005. However, she says when Zoloft proved ineffective at relieving the symptoms of her depression, her dosage was repeatedly increased. It would follow that such an increase would also increase the propensity for SSRI side effects while having little impact on a person’s depression.
Ms. Craig points out that as part of the original approval process for Zoloft, Pfizer produced two studies that demonstrated, according to Pfizer, “a statistically significant effect” for patients suffering from depression. The FDA, however, was concerned about the presence of other studies that showed only marginal benefit. In some efficacy studies, according to the lawsuit, Zoloft was actually outperformed by the placebo.
Nonetheless, Zoloft was issued an FDA approval in 1991 and Pfizer launched an intense campaign to market the new drug to consumers as the best response to depression. Until the patent for Zoloft expired in 2007, sales of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor reached $3 billion annually, with total sales of Zoloft in excess of $30 billion for Pfizer. Since 2007, Zoloft continues to generate sales of $500 million dollars each year due to Pfizer’s continued claims, or so it’s alleged, that Zoloft is far more effective for treating depression than it really is.
Meanwhile, as we have repeatedly reported, Zoloft side effects can be serious for a pregnant woman and her unborn child, given various studies linking antidepressants such as Zoloft to SSRI birth defects. PPHN, or Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn, is one of the side effects linked to drugs such as Zoloft. At least 250 Zoloft birth defect lawsuits have been consolidated in the multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. About 70 additional Zoloft Birth Defects lawsuits have been filed in the courts. As previously reported, according to a recent pre-trial order, the first trial for a Zoloft SSRI lawsuit will be heard in September 2014.
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.