Forest Laboratories is facing claims in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) that alleges it misrepresented the efficacy of the antidepressant drugs Lexapro and Celexa for the treatment of depression in pediatric patients. Forest countered telling the Massachusetts federal court that the claims allegations were too individualized and should not be allowed, reports Law360.
In January 2016, plaintiffs filed a first amended complaint that alleged that ineffective drugs for their children had been purchased as a result of Forest’s misleading promotion of the medications.
Lexapro is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for patients 12 and up since 2002 and Celexa since 1998 for patients 18 and up, Law360 reports.
A lawsuit filed by the U.S. Justice Department accused Forest of violating the False Claims Act by violating anti-kickback laws, paying doctors to prescribe Lexapro and Celexa to pediatric patients. In 2002, the FDA found that using Celexa in treating children with depression is no more effective than a placebo. The plaintiffs in the MDL case argue that Forest had misled doctors, as well as the public, concerning the alleged benefits of using both antidepressants for children and had implemented a false marketing strategy, according to Law360.
In March 2014, a settlement was reached in Missouri over Celexa and Lexapro claims, and Forest Laboratories agreed to pay between $7.7 million and $10.4 million.