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Zoloft Class Action Claims Drug No Better than Sugar Pill

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San Jose, CA: A consumer fraud class action lawsuit has been filed against Pfizer, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division, related to the company' antidepressant Zoloft.

Specifically, the lawsuit alleges Pfizer deceptively marketed Zoloft as a highly effective treatment for depression, knowing that the drug' effectiveness was, at best, virtually indistinguishable from that of a sugar pill. The lawsuit was filed by Baum Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman and Pendley Baudin & Coffin on behalf of the Plaintiff, Laura A. Plumlee, and consumers nationwide and in California. The class action lawsuit, 13-CV-00414-PSG, is before Magistrate Judge Paul Singh Grewal.

The Plaintiff, Laura A. Plumlee is a housewife with two teenage children. According to the Complaint, she began taking Zoloft in 2005 for depression. Because Zoloft was not effective at treating her depression, her dosage was repeatedly increased.

The complaint alleges that:

Most of the early Zoloft efficacy studies proved to be negative, failed, or were neutral. In the majority of the efficacy studies, there was no significant difference between Zoloft and placebo in relieving depression. In some studies, placebo actually outperformed Zoloft in treating depression.

Pfizer was fully aware of Zoloft' true efficacy (or lack thereof) as documented in internal company documents discussed in the Complaint.

Despite its full knowledge of Zoloft' less-than-stellar effectiveness, Pfizer proceeded to falsely market Zoloft as a highly beneficial treatment for depression.

Pfizer deliberately crafted its drug label to mislead consumers and prescribing healthcare professionals into believing that Zoloft is more effective at treating depression than it actually is.

Pfizer knew that it could turn a profit by convincing consumers and prescribing healthcare professionals that Zoloft was very effective at treating depression. This was accomplished not only through its misleading drug label, but through a comprehensive scheme of selective publication of clinical trial data, ghostwriting positive manuscripts about the efficacy of Zoloft, paying prominent physicians (known as Key Opinion Leader or "KOLS") to tout the efficacy and safety of Zoloft, and misleading advertising on television and in magazines.

As a result of its extensive and deceptive marketing efforts, Pfizer reaped tens of billions of dollars in profits from its sales of Zoloft.

Since Zoloft' launch in 1991, Zoloft sales have generated over $30 billion in revenue for Pfizer. Prior to Zoloft' patent expiration in 2007, which resulted in a proliferation of less expensive generic versions of the drug, Zoloft' annual sales were over $3 billion annually. Since its patent expired, Zoloft sales have continued to generate over $500 million in revenue each year. Currently, over 20 million prescriptions of Zoloft and generic sertraline are filled annually.

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Reader Comments


Posted by

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Zoloft not only has not helped me, but has caused unbelievable alcohol cravings. I have recently stopped taking this drug and am experiencing extreme vertigo, brain zaps causing me to urinate on myself, and hallucinations. I am currently not a good candidate to be out in public, work a job, or deal with normal daily stressors. I am riding an elliptical bike multiple times a day to sweat out this disaster. I am on day 5 with increasing symptoms. This drug should be illegal.

Posted by

on
I’ve been on zoloft for 7 years, I had a steady job for 15 years and after being on Zoloft for about a year I quit my job and can’t keep one. my wife is always talking about leaving me. And I just don’t care about any of it, we had it all and all I cared about was taking care of my family. I can’t seem to function normally I barely leave the house I hate to be around people I haven’t been to a family function in 5 years including wedding and funerals. Ive been cutting back on it but i have panic attacks cant sleep always angry I’ve put on 145 lbs .im a completely different person in every way.

Posted by

on
I been on Zoloft for many many years prescribed for depression. Im to the point now that I dont want to leave my house. I suffer from panic attachs and depression that I dont want to see family, go to Church or anyone come to my house. My mental state has me fearful of people. Having to go even grocery shopping is a chore for me. It takes several days to actually done. Make a list and tell myself i will go tomorrow but tomorrow comes and its the same thing until I realize I have no choice I have to go. There isnt much left in my pantry. I was started on depression medicine after a work injury and i havent worked since. This was in 1995 and with how I was done with my Comp Attorney. Is so criminal. Is there any attorney out there who will help me? Not until this injury did try to commit suicide. I need one (1) ATTORNEY THAT WILL HELP ME. I AM SO TIRED AND HOPELESS. I have trusted them and they throw me under the bus. Only caring bout there partners in the Ohio Workers Compensation and what they can do to get the case paid off n money in their pockets. I have medical records and Workers Compensation papers where the Attorney that represented me didnt do anything to help present my case. Tells me to find a Dr. And I paying him WHY? I even went to the compensation dr. Who was on my side and again my attorney didnt do what he said he would with the next step. Now Im on anti-depressants because of this injury. Sometimes i think its useless to go on. The attorney Matt Copp said "If I was you would of came to me first...I would of gotten you Permanant Total." I asked why cant you get it for me now? He said "the other attorney screwed it up" and I said so I have to pay for their misrepresentation...I told him, Thats not fair to me I trusted them. He also said he wouldnt sue them for misrepresentation. WHY....THEY ARE NOW IN A FIRM AND THEY ARE PARTNERS...And now you see why I am depressed. I HAVENT WORKED A DAY SINCE THIS INJURY. Or had a relationship last because this injury limits my part of intimacy that i dont want to have a sexually part in it. With the injury causing depression and taking zoloft basically shuts that part off. To not want to. Why do I have to pay for this. It was suppose to be the fun years of making memories of the last years in high school for my son (senior) and my daughter (sophmore), but they had to take care of me. I was 36 yrs old and I was a single mom. Oh how my life was turned upside down because of this injury.

Posted by

on
I was on zoloft for 8 years. Did nothing for me but depress me more. Had to take other meds on top of that. I was on paxil cr, clonipan,. I believe my family doctor has a list of depression nedicine i was on for all those 8 years. The pills ruined my 1st marriage. It made me a bad person. In 2008 i moved in with my parents after my divorce, with they're help i was off all the meds in 6 months. Cold turkey. Im remarried neved felt better

Posted by

on
I was on Zoloft the last 10 years I was employed. It was prescribed by a podiatrist explaining it would turn off the pain message from failed bilateral metatarsal surgery. It did. Read what NIH research has said about this drug in the trial phases of use. I now have severe osteoporosis, have been on SSDI since 2001; and, I am again being told by a psych to take the drug or else...? Although I am on Prolia for the Osteo. I have liver spots that have been indicated as another side effect in the research documents I am currently reading. Obviously, it has not had any psychiatrically beneficial benefit, and, has been harmful to major body systems and organs. There are no psych medications. Only bad drugs.

Posted by

on
I took Sertraline for about a year for depression and anxiety. I did not notice any change at all in my mood or depression. I was still having crying episodes, dysfunctional panic days. I stopped taking it and noticed no change.

Posted by

on
I have took several medications sometime 8 at one time for the last 16years and was misdiagnosed from 200-2015 so i probably didnt need alot of those exspecially with all the side affect from alot of them

Posted by

on
I have been on sertraline for quite sometime. I take 200 mg and 300 of Wellbutrin. No wonder I still have problems

Posted by

on
I have been on Zoloft for 5 years and I have had severe panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, and outburst.
I am interested in this lawsuit.
Thank you

Posted by

on
I was prescribed Zoloft as a teen. I believe it caused mental harm to me. I also was prescribed Adderall, Focalin and Ritalin as well, and have all documentation of taking it.

Posted by

on
I have been treated for depression with Zoloft (sertraline) for over 10 years and currently take 200 mg daily. My depression and anxiety are still interfering with my ability to work and socialize. Serious depressive episodes include crying, fear and flares of temper.

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