|Not for use in children and adolescents|
Celexa [citalopram] and Lexapro [escitalopram] are two antidepressants in the family of SSRi's. Some would argue [I'm one of them] that both antidepressants are pretty much the same. Let's face it, Lexapro only ever came to market because the patent was running out on Celexa.
Forest Labs, the manufacturer, have argued that the two drugs differ, maybe so but the end result is the same particularly when it's been down to the marketing team of Forest Labs.
Once again, kids have been targeted despite these group of drugs bearing warnings that they were not recommended for pediatrics.
How do we know this for sure?
Well, in 2010 Forest Labs settled with the US government. Forest Labs were accused of illegally promoting Celexa for use in children and adolescents despite the fact it had not been approved for marketing in the United States.
In other words, they were promoting the use of Celexa in kids to doctors through "off-label" marketing.
We know how that works, right?
Kickbacks, holding back negative study results, ghostwritten papers, in general bending the law to suit their needs.
Forest Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Forest Labs, also pled guilty to a whole range of underhand practices including misbranding Celexa by marketing it for use in children from 1998 to 2002.
With these two settlements Forest Labs and Forest Pharmaceuticals have paid out a wad of cash, moved on and now, it seems, it's business as usual.
But there's one final twist in the Forest saga.
Both Forest Labs and Forest Pharmaceuticals, because of their illegal promotion, now may have to reimburse the families of those who paid for prescriptions of Celexa and Lexapro. Rightly so too.
A consumer fraud class action is underway, meaning that if you as a parent of a child who took Celexa or Lexapro can claw back what you paid. Quite a hefty amount if your child was on either drug for a long time.
These types of consumer fraud cases need a lead plaintiff, someone that not only represents their child or children but one who represents the whole class action. It's like a lead case. Classic example here being the Kilker V GlaxoSmithKline case. Lyam Kilker was born with heart defects as were 800 other kids. Kilker et al represented the class action, they won the case against Glaxo which meant Glaxo settled the majority of other cases.
The Forest lawsuit is looking for additional class representatives. There are already some lead cases in places for many of the US states but more are needed. I'm pretty sure those that represent a group action are compensated handsomely, and why not - putting yourself out front deserves to be rewarded.
I think it's important to keep the pressure on Forest. Settling with the government is one thing, now it's time to settle with the people they duped - the public.
A cynic would suggest that this is just about the dollar, they'd be wrong. This is about getting your teeth into a pharmaceutical company and biting them so hard that they think twice about doing any dirty deeds again.
If I had my way I'd put those responsible behind bars, to promote something that is harmful to any human is wrong, to promote it for children is despicable and abhorrent. Sadly, the only way to hurt big bad pharma is in the pocket and media.
Forest have made two settlements, they should now cough up to those who matter, the parents who forked out money for weekly prescriptions of Celexa and Lexapro.
The fact that some kids never experienced any adverse reaction is irrelevant here. The fact is both Forest Labs and Forest Pharmaceuticals played Russian roulette with children and for that two things should happen.
1. They should be held accountable.
2. They should compensate those they played Russian roulette with.
Both Forest Labs and Forest Pharmaceuticals made huge profit from Celexa and Lexapro, they did so by basically using children as guinea pigs, they did so by wining and dining doctors so they would prescribe more Celexa and Lexapro to children, they did so by withholding negative data about both drugs, data that showed that Celexa was no more effective than placebo for pediatric use.
Why should any company, be they pharmaceutical or a fizzy soda drinks company benefit from putting children's lives at danger?
So, did you or do you know anyone that paid for prescriptions for their children and/or adolescents for Celexa and Lexapro between 2001 and the present day? If so, then you may want to represent a class action in your state.
You can find out more information by calling 800-827-0087 or by filling in an online form HERE.
Forest Labs and Forest Pharmaceuticals should not benefit from your purse, particularly when the products they promoted for children and adolescents were actually dangerous for this vulnerable population. Their shareholders should not benefit from your purse either, namely, Wellington Management Company, LLP, Icahn Associates Corp and many more.
The full complaint can be read, in PDF form, HERE.