Two Federal Courts Reject Pfizer’s Federal Preemption Argument in cases involving Zoloft

Fri, 01 Apr 2005

With assistance from Daniel Troy as chief counsel of the FDA, Pfizer argued that state courts have no right to decide that a drug manufacturer can be held liable for not disclosing severe – even lethal–adverse side effects to physicians and the public, if the FDA did not require such warnings. Pfizer and Troy claimed that FDA’s judgement preempts any other jurisdiction. The claim sought to legitimize fraud – as stated plainly by NY State Attorney General.

The preemption argument has confounded families, preventing them from seeking justice.

Two federal courts rejected the preemption argument:

On March 30, 2005, US District Court in Louisiana and on March 31, 2005, the US District Court in Texas rejected Pfizer’s motion for summary judgement.

Both cases involve suicide by patients who were prescribed Pfizer’s SSRI antidepressant Zoloft (sertraline).

Eliot Spitzer called the concealment of the hazardous, potentially lethal side effects–fraudulent marketing.

Contact: Vera Hassner Sharav