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Proposed Zoloft Class-Action Defective Drug Lawsuit Down but Not Out

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San Jose, CAA proposed Zoloft class-action lawsuit alleging Zoloft is a defective drug because it offers little more efficacy than a placebo, or so it is alleged, was recently tossed by a federal judge due to a time-barring issue and other legal implications. However all is not lost; the presiding magistrate left the door open a crack for a possible continuation of the complaint, with some revisions.

In Plumlee v. Pfizer Inc., Case No. 5:13-cv-00414, in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, plaintiff Laura Plumlee took Zoloft manufacturer Pfizer to task for marketing a drug that was alleged to be ineffective, with questionable efficacy, due to a claim that most clinical trials found that Zoloft was no more effective than a placebo, or so Plumlee claimed.

Her lawsuit alleges that Pfizer purposely omitted, in Zoloft labeling, any studies that showed Zoloft to be ineffective, while favoring studies that showed Zoloft was, indeed, more effective than a placebo. Plumlee also alleged that Pfizer’s marketing and advertising was also misleading in touting Zoloft, an antidepressant, as effective.

However, Plumlee’s claim was dismissed not on her argument of effectiveness, but due to time barring. It has been reported that Plumlee brought her defective drug lawsuit under two statutes observed by the state of California: that of the Unfair Competition Law, and the Consumer Legal Remedies Act and False Advertising Law.

Was plaintiff’s claim time-barred?

The two aforementioned statutes, under California law, carry limitations of four years and three years, respectively. In her ruling dismissing the plaintiff’s claim, US District Judge Lucy Koh ruled that Plumlee’s complaint went beyond the limitation boundaries, given the plaintiff’s claim that she last used Zoloft in 2008 but waited until January 2013 to bring her lawsuit.

Plumlee challenged that such limitations were tolled until 2012, the point at which Plumlee first discovered that Zoloft had been misrepresented. The judge, however, held that Plumlee’s claim to discovering Zoloft’s inadequacies in “early 2012” was too general a frame of time. Judge Koh also was not satisfied with the detail supporting the time and surrounding circumstances of her discovery.

To that end, the judge pointed to the existence of various scientific articles - cited by the plaintiff - that had been published long before Plumlee brought her drug defects lawsuit, and thus did not accept the plaintiff’s claim.

However, the judge left the door open.

All is not lost for this Zoloft defective medical products action

In dismissing the plaintiff’s claim, Judge Koh is allowing Plumlee to amend her complaint going forward. It is telling, as well, that the California judge ruled that Pfizer has the freedom to access certain aspects of the plaintiff’s medical history. Plumlee had sought to block Pfizer’s access to her medical records. A previous magistrate’s ruling that allowed Pfizer access was supported by Judge Koh on grounds that Plumlee had waived any privilege of protecting her medical history when she argued that the statutes of limitations were tolled due to her learning of Zoloft’s alleged deficiencies only in early 2012.

Plumlee, according to various reports, had sought to represent a proposed class of plaintiffs who may have used Zoloft from the point at which it was introduced to market in 1991, through to present day. However, the judge suggested that Plumlee may not be typical of the class, given that she claims to have used Zoloft for a period of three years even though it did not appear to be working for her. Records also demonstrated that the lead plaintiff relied more upon Zoloft marketing and advertising, than the advice of her doctor.

Pundits suggest that in leaving the door open, the judge feels the proposed class-action lawsuit may have merit, in spite of deficiencies exhibited by Plumlee’s claim. The potential, thus, is for Plumlee to amend her claim that satisfies time-barred limitations and other deficiencies as articulated by the presiding judge. Could the proposed class-action lawsuit proceed with a different lead plaintiff?

Harmful drugs are often shown to carry risks, in spite of the position of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that holds that a drug’s benefits outweigh the risks for the class or constituency of patients to which the drug is targeted. In the same vein, however, drug defects can also include deficiencies that suggest a drug is not worth the financial outlay, either by an individual or group, in exchange for potentially limited effectiveness.

The aforementioned Zoloft lawsuit alleges Zoloft does not live up to its promises. The proposed class action, alleging defective medical products (Zoloft, as ineffective), could continue with amendments - but perhaps not in its present form.

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by

on
I have been on 150mg of Zoloft for over a year and am now trying to get off...I am literally crying reading these post!!!...I have lost my insurance and I don't think I'll make it through withdrawals! I'm so scared!

Posted by

on
I took Zoloft years ago when going thru depression an it made everything worse. I felt in hindsight that I did crazy things I would of never done if it weren't for being on Zoloft. I became suisidal, now with permanent multiple large scars on my arms that are embarrassing from cutting requiring stitches that I'd pulled out in a burst of rage, intense mood swings, anxious, extreme weight gain, compulsive with poor choices, nightmares, poor sleep, feeling of as if I was lightly drunk or high w/o any use of such alcohol/drugs, higher tollarence of pain, crying fits, extreme anger unprovoked or anger not matching up to the situation, questioned people's motives almost paranoid... All of these things were not me or my norm! I was knocked way of kilter and had even got banned from a psychiatric hospital an after acting out with cutting and severely spraining my ankle (looked like it could of been broken an wasn't allowed to go get X-rays) then signing out against medical advice. Still all as a result of being on Zoloft. Normally I was a demur soft spoken polite young lady that had a rough childhood that made me feel sad an unloved at times which was the extent of my depression feeling down an not being able to shake that. Did okay with Prozac w/Wellbutrin combo when ready I came off it an realized how it cut off my emotions but I did with years of therapy an don't feel any depression today. People say I wear my emotions on my sleeve an I cry at hallmark commercials or the abused dog ones... But being sensitive or emotional type person is within range still of being okay an doesn't require meds. So alls well but the Zoloft thing follows me to this day due to the scars I'm not taken serious w/Drs & never got the weight under control unfortunately feels like it changed my body chemistry or (?)for good.

Posted by

on
I was on Zoloft from 2001 after ICD operation and was wondering if it made any difference over the last 15 years. In April took every 2nd day, then stopped completely after 3 weeks and I felt good, still do after 5 months without it, only side effect so far is clearer thinking. Now I wonder if I ever needed it at all. Conclusion: on balance of probabilities it was unnecessary.

Posted by

on
I was prescribed zoloft 15 years ago for anxiety and depression. It briefly worked and then I didn't feel it was working anymore while in my teens but only stayed on it so I didn't have to go through withdrawals (which I only knew how they felt from forgetting a pill here or there). I am now coming off of it (I have been tapering for 2.5 years) and it has been excruciating. Sweating, vomiting, anger, mood swings, paranoia, crying spells, suicidal ideation (I've never felt suicidal before), extreme joint and muscle pain. I am down to 1.5mg (I was at 75 when I started tapering) and am still having withdrawal symptoms every time I drop the dose even 1/4mg. Zoloft doesn't get you high, but it is highly addicting and I am amazed that there is no requirement to inform patients of withdrawal symptoms before putting them on it. I'm not sure doctors even realize how bad it is, since we are the first generation of childhood SSRI patients. We are case studies. I did not sign on to be a case study.

Posted by

on
I have been on & off Zoloft several different times over the years. I find that it makes me a non-person..no emotions, etc. Trying to withrawal is difficult. I have been off Zoloft this time for 6 months & am still having withdrawal symptoms...extreme anger, crying jags, wanting to jump off a bridge, etc. I've been reading blogs where this can go on for years! This drug should be taken off the market immediately!! I would like to join a class action suit to make that happen!.

Posted by

on
i have been prescribed Zoloft at a couple times for depression and anxiety and both times it failed to help me for depression and anxiety. I think this medication is dangerous because doctors usually make you go several weeks before they will change you to another medication, at which time I could be dead!

Posted by

on
I was on this stuff in the early 90s it did nothing for me you know what helped me with my issues was to move to a green state and get my medical license, but to each his own you can keep those pills that seem to not even work much better than sugar pills but they do not even know all the side effects from taking these things. How many other pills on the market are also ineffective and possible dangerous? You can keep the pills I will stick to the green, it keeps me happy and I dont need no pills no booze no nightclubs nobody to bring me down, absolutely nothing except to enjoy every day like a gift, and its a great feeling.

Posted by

on
my doctor prescribed me Zoloft as an anti depressant, since then i have been in a constant weight gain, lightheaded, dizziness and lack of good sleep. I have been taking this drug for 4 years and when i try ti withdraw i have nightmares, feeling dizzy all day gong, weakness in my legs, ant a lot more.

If i got to know this i would not taken this awful pill.

Posted by

on
I take Zoloft for anxiety. While it works to a point in alleviating my anxiety, when I am actively flaring with Crohn's it does nothing for its intended and original use for me. I have severe depression when I am actively flaring and nothing has been able to touch it. They upped my dosage to 100mg and still nothing.

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