Proposed class action lawsuits are being prepared against Forest Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Forest Laboratories Inc. in respect of the antidepressants Celexa and Lexapro which the suit claims were unlawfully marketed to treat adolescent depression.
The lawsuit, filed in Massachusetts, indicates that the two drugs were no more effective than a sugar pill in treating the depressive disorder. Plaintiffs are Allied Services Division Welfare Fund, of Arlington Heights, Ill., and New Mexico UFCW Union’s and Employers’ Health and Welfare Trust Fund, of Albuquerque, N.M.
The lawsuit states: “Instead of disclosing the results of the negative studies on the label, Forest decided to manipulate the situation so as to convey Celexa and Lexapro as effective treatments for pediatric” major depressive disorder, the plaintiffs said. “Forest suppressed the dissemination of one of the negative trials and doctored the data of the other to make the study appear ‘positive.’ Using the fraudulently ‘positive’ study, Forest began a widespread campaign to promote the ‘positive’ results to the medical community.”
The complaint indicates that drugmakers “spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year promoting directly to consumers, third-party payors and the medical community,” the complaint said.
“Plaintiffs and members of the classes have suffered an ascertainable loss, in an amount to be determined at trial, in that they paid millions, if not billions, of dollars for Celexa and Lexapro that they would not have paid had Forest not engaged in unfair and deceptive conduct,” the complaint said.