Zoloft Lawsuit Settlements | Zoloft Birth Defects

Zoloft Lawsuit Settlements Cost Pfizer Millions

Sarah Klein | August 15th, 2011

In July 2004, a Zoloft lawyer filed a Zoloft lawsuit against the manufacturer of the antidepressant, Pfizer, claiming the company misled physicians and the public regarding the safety of the drug, particularly in regard to serious Zoloft side effects like suicide and withdrawal symptoms. The lawsuit alleged that Pfizer downplayed the risks and exaggerated the benefits, to the detriment of many patients who went on to experience devastating side effects.

Since then, Pfizer has set records for paying out  Zoloft lawsuit settlements not only to patients, but also to the U.S. Government.

Phil Hartman’s family wins Zoloft lawsuit settlement

Perhaps one of the most famous cases involving Zoloft was the murder/suicide of comedian Phil Hartman and his wife, Brynn. Brynn was taking Zoloft when she came home one night and shot her husband, then later shot herself. Brynn’s family filed a Zoloft lawsuit, and reportedly received an out-of-court Zoloft lawsuit settlement with Pfizer.

Parents of 11-year old suicide victim win Zoloft lawsuit settlement

Jacob Jackson was only 11 years old when he hung himself in October 2002. His parents, David and Debra, claimed it was a Zoloft suicide. Jacob had been taking the antidepressant for a month prior to his death, during which his behavior worsened. Unfortunately, when his parents reported his agitation and suicidal thoughts, three different doctors recommended an increased dosage of Zoloft.

In the Zoloft lawsuit, the plaintiffs alleged that Pfizer had failed to conduct adequate studies on the effects of their antidepressants. Pfizer agreed to an out-of-court Zoloft lawsuit settlement of an undisclosed amount.

In 2004, the FDA required antidepressant manufacturers to include warnings about the increased risk of suicide among children and teens as part of their product packaging.

The biggest settlement of all

In 2009, Pfizer agreed to a whopping $2.3 billion settlement with the U.S. Government. This is the largest fine in U.S. history. Federal prosecutors called the company to task for several alleged violations of several federal drug rules involving the marketing and promotion of certain medications. Though the lawsuit applied to several of Pfizer’s pharmaceutical drugs, Zoloft was specifically named in relation to kickbacks Pfizer allegedly paid to physicians.

“From January 2001, through December 2004,” states the settlement agreement, “Pfizer paid illegal remuneration for speaker programs, mentorships, preceptorships, journal clubs, and gifts (including entertainment, cash, travel and meals) to health care professionals to induce them to promote and prescribe the drugs Aricept, Celebrex, Lipitor, Norvasc, Relpax, Viagra, Zithromax, Zoloft, and Zyrteck….As a result of the foregoing conduct, Pfizer caused false claims to be submitted to Medicaid and TRICARE.”

Pfizer was also accused of inappropriately marketing its drugs for off-labels uses to physicians. Authorities noted that this was the company’s fourth such settlement of government charges in the last decade.

Zoloft lawsuit settlements sought for birth defects

Pregnant women who have given birth to a baby with a Zoloft birth defect are now seeking the advice of a Zoloft lawyer. Though Pfizer has already paid out undetermined amounts to victims of Zoloft suicide, future Zoloft lawsuits may very well involve Zoloft birth defects.