A class action lawsuit filed in California against the manufacturer of the antidepressant Zoloft has accused the company of misleading patients about the effectiveness of the drug. The lawsuit alleges that Pfizer, the manufacturer of Zoloft, marketed the drug as an effective treatment for depression despite knowing that it was no more effective than a placebo.
According to the lawsuit, early studies that examined the effectiveness of Zoloft at treating depression found that the drug had a neutral or negative effect compared to a sugar pill. Despite this fact, the complaint alleges, Pfizer marketed Zoloft as a highly effective treatment for depression, allowing the company to reap billions in profits. Since Zoloft was placed on the market in 1991, the drug has garnered more than $30 billion in sales for the company.
In addition to the California Zoloft class action, hundreds of lawsuits have also been filed against Pfizer by parents whose children were born with birth defects after using the drug during pregnancy. According to warnings by the FDA and other health organizations, the use of SSRI antidepressants such as Zoloft during pregnancy can increase the risk of heart defects and other serious congenital birth defects.