Breaking News: Forest Laboratories settles Celexa / Lexapro suicide cases. 54 lawsuits accuse drugmaker of concealing information, misleading physicians, and promoting dangerous antidepressants to children.
What’s the problem?
The recent settlements came about a month after Forest’s Earth City subsidiary pleaded guilty to illegally marketing antidepressants to children and adolescents. The company reportedly 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.
FDA Warning on Antidepressants
Back in 2006, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration announced that prescribing antidepressants to young people is risky. FDA proposed expanding the labels of all antidepressants to include a warning of suicidal thoughts in patients. The label changes also now contain a suggestion that patients of all ages be carefully monitored, particularly when initiating SSRI treatment.