Drug maker hid trial data, bribed doctors to prescribe antidepressants to children
Source: blacklistednews.comThousands of Missouri parents are entitled to refunds for antidepressants prescribed to children because the drugs were unapproved for use in that age group, a federal judge has ruled.
Forest Laboratories and its subsidiary Forest Pharmaceuticals, which is based in Earth City, agreed to pay up to $10.4 million in refunds for misleading parents into giving the drugs Celexa and Lexapro to children and teenagers, according to a recent settlement of a class action lawsuit.
A judge in the case ruled that under the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act, “parents have the right to be fully informed about the potential efficacy of a drug,” said Brent Wisner, a Los Angeles-based attorney for the plaintiffs.
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Several psychiatrists also said they were misled by the company. In his expert testimony in the case, Dr. Joseph Glenmullen of Harvard Medical School said, “Forest misrepresented both the efficacy and safety of Celexa and Lexapro use in children and adolescents, misled physicians and deprived patients of the benefit of their health care providers’ independent professional judgment.”
Forest Pharmaceuticals pleaded guilty in 2010 to federal charges that its Missouri-based sales force illegally marketed Celexa and Lexapro for use in children and teenagers when the drugs were only approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat depression in adults. The company bribed doctors with cash, meals and travel to prescribe the drugs to children, according to the federal charges.
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