A bold new class action lawsuit against the makers of Zoloft may be breaking new ground in assisting new plaintiffs with lawsuits against other manufactures of antidepressant medications like Paxil or Effexor. This new class action suit is based on the manufacturer’s knowledge that the pills don’t work any better than placebos in combatting depression.
The lawsuit that got this ball rolling was filed against the makers of Zoloft, Pfizer, by Laura A. Plumlee, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on January 30, 2013. She is basically accusing Pfizer of defrauding patients of $30 billion by knowingly selling products that don’t actually work.
“This class action, brought on behalf of consumers nationwide and in California, seeks to enjoin Pfizer’s continued unlawful conduct and recover damages for the millions of consumers who were tricked into purchasing a side effect-ridden drug that was, at best, marginally better than a sugar pill in treating depression,” Plumlee’s complaint states.
This brings about an interesting strategic perspective for future lawsuits filed against other antidepressant medications like Zoloft — particularly Paxil and Effexor, which are in the same class of drugs as Zoloft called SSRIs. In December 2011, research that was published in the Archives of General Psychiatry showed that SSRIs like Paxil and Effexor didn’t work any better in treating depression than placebos did. Numerous other studies stated the same thing. However, it has rarely been used as the focal point of a lawsuit until now. Previous lawsuits focused solely on the failure-to-warn accusations against the drugs’ side effects, which include violent and suicidal thoughts and behavior and birth defects (PPHN, spina bifida, oral clefts) in babies whose mothers take the pills while pregnant.
This new approach to antidepressant lawsuits will likely be watched by many lawyers and plaintiffs alike. The fact is that with all of the studies stating that simple life changes and talk therapy are a safer and more beneficial approach to treating depression, it may finally drive the point home for jurors.