Forest Laboratories has settled a number of wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits filed by the parents of children who took the drugs Celexa and Lexapro. Fifty-four lawsuits, mostly involving suicides and attempted suicides by teenagers in various parts of the country, accuse the New York-based pharmaceutical company of concealing a negative pediatric study on Celexa, misleading physicians about the drug’s clinical trials, and targeting children in aggressive promotions of Celexa and a sister drug, Lexapro. These settlements came about a month after Forest’s Earth City subsidiary pleaded guilty to illegally marketing antidepressants to children and adolescents.

I have reason to believe there will be more settlements in the months ahead. The pharmaceutical company is trying hard to get the controversy surrounding its marketing of antidepressants to children behind it. It’s quite evident that the company can’t afford to litigate these cases. The company’s subsidiary – Forest Pharmaceutical – agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges involving its marketing and manufacturing practices and also to pay more than $300 million in criminal and civil penalties. The U.S. Attorney’s office in Boston is continuing to investigate the potential criminal liability of Forest officers and employees. According to federal regulators, Forest waged an aggressive campaign from 1999 through at least 2005 to promote the use of Celexa and Lexapro in children and teenagers, although neither drug was approved for pediatric use.

Source: St. Louis Today

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