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California Lawsuit Claims Zoloft Failed to Treat Woman’s Depression

Zoloft Side Effects DepressionA Zoloft lawyer filed a new lawsuit on behalf of a California woman on January 30, 2013, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The case alleges that the manufacturer of the medication, Pfizer, Inc., was aware that it was not an effective treatment for depression, but continued to promote, sell and distribute Zoloft for that purpose.

Relying on Pfizer’s marketing of the drug as a safe and effective treatment for depression, the woman began taking Zoloft in March of 2005. She used it for three years and her dosage increased from 50 mg daily to 250 mg daily. According to her, the medication didn’t work.

Pfizer accused of failing to adequately warn

Others have claimed the company did not provide sufficient warnings as to the link between the drug and birth defects. As a result, an increasing number of people are choosing to file a Zoloft birth defects lawsuit.

Pfizer is accused of having known of the potential for side effects in children when the mother takes the medication while pregnant, but failed to update the marketing packages and warnings with the drug to notify patients of these dangers. Plaintiffs in these cases state that if they had known of the potential risks, they would have taken a different drug.

Multiple birth defects linked to Zoloft

The New England Journal of Medicine conducted a study that found pregnant women who used Zoloft were more likely to have children suffering from PPHN (persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn). The British Journal of Medicine conducted a study in 2009 that discovered women who used Zoloft in their first trimester faced double the chances of having a child suffering from atrial septal defects. In addition, the use of Zoloft while pregnant could lead to such other birth defects as spina bifida, delayed development, cleft lip or palate, skull defects, and clubfoot.

Over 250 lawsuits against Pfizer because of Zoloft have been filed in federal court due to children suffering from birth defects. These were consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL) to speed and streamline the legal process. The pretrial proceedings for these lawsuits are being heard in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania with the initial trial scheduled to begin by September 12, 2014.

Pfizer accused of misleading consumers as to Zoloft’s effectiveness

The California woman who claims that Zoloft doesn’t work states that Pfizer is guilty of misleading the consuming public as to the effectiveness of Zoloft in treating depression. It is noted in the filing that in order to receive approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market Zoloft, at least two clinical trials had to show that the drug treated depression effectively. In six clinical trials, four showed that the drug was not any more effective than a sugar pill; two of the trials indicated that Zoloft was marginally beneficial. Those clinical trials are said to have had design flaws as well as a sampling bias.

In addition, she claims that the company partook in deceptive marketing practices that prevented consumers from making an informed decision as to the effectiveness of Zoloft in treating depression. On its label, the drug is promoted as a highly effective treatment for depression while failing to accurately list clinical trial results in medical journals and leaving out information that could be negatively viewed.

According to the plaintiff, Pfizer paid medical ghostwriters to produce promotional materials about Zoloft that wound up being published in medical journals.