BATON ROUGE, La., Oct. 30 (UPI) -- The state of Louisiana has sued pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, alleging it used ghostwriters to create favorable coverage of the antidepressant Zoloft.
State Attorney General James "Buddy" Caldwell says that independent research suggests Zoloft is only slightly more effective than a placebo at treating depression, Courthouse News Service reported Tuesday. The lawsuit says Pfizer generated articles in medical journals that said the opposite.
"The defendant caused thousands of false and deceptive claims to be made to the state by manipulating published efficacy data, paying key opinion leaders to bolster Zoloft's efficacy, and deceptively concealing Zoloft's inefficacy to physicians, customers, and the state," the state's complaint charges.
Caldwell's office says internal Pfizer documents show the company knew of problems with Zoloft even before the it was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The lawsuit was filed in East Baton Rouge Parish. It seeks a court order barring Pfizer from making misleading claims about Zoloft's efficacy, restitution for money paid by the state for Zoloft under the Medicaid program and civil penalties.