Pfizer had to pay a large amount for settlement with the Department of Justice. This settlement included federal and states civil settlement for illegal off-label promotion of Geodon and for paying kickbacks to doctors to prescribe Zoloft, which is an anti-depressant by Pfizer.

It paid $49,844,714 as settlement for paying kickbacks to health care providers. This kickback was paid for off label prescription of Zoloft and other drugs by Pfizer. It induced doctor to promote its anti-depressant Zoloft for off-label uses. The settlement didn’t comprised of any sanctions against doctors for taking kickbacks.

Zoloft is an antidepressant drug. It has Sertraline as the main active ingredient. Zoloft or sertraline hydrochloride is used for treatment of depression or other such disorders. Zoloft works by restoring the balance of serotonin in the brain, which helps to treat different mood or stress related disorders.  It is also used to treat other diseases such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). It belongs to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) group of drugs. It is also used in children and adolescents for treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Use of Zoloft could lead to many severe side effects. It can result into suicidal thoughts or attempts, unusual bruising or bleeding, hallucinations, memory loss, panic attacks, aggressiveness, impulsiveness and irritability, hallucinations, memory loss, panic attacks, aggressiveness, impulsiveness and irritability. It could cause birth defects in unborn child if taken by the mother during pregnancy. Studies have linked it to severe birth defects. These birth defects may be related to Lung, Heart, Abdomen, Skeletal defects, Neural defects or Skull and face deformation.

Zoloft could result into severe side effects such as allergic reactions, tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue etc., black or bloody stools and decreased bladder control, irregular heartbeats, Hallucinations, memory loss, panic attacks, aggressiveness, impulsiveness and irritability. It could arouse suicidal thoughts in children and teenagers, if they are treated with this medicine for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

It could lead to birth defects if taken during pregnancy. These birth defects include Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension in Newborn, Anal atresia (complete or partial closure of the anus), Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD), Cleft lip and cleft palate, Spinal bifida, Cardiac (heart) defects, Atrial Septal Defect (ASD), Pulmonary Stenosis, Pulmonary (lung) defects, Club foot, Infant omphalocele and Neural-tube defects.

Pfizer has been showered by numerous law suits related to severe side effects pf Zoloft especially birth defects lately. Pfizer had hid the birth related side effects and there was no warning regarding it on the drugs label. Off label promotion of Zoloft and paying kickbacks to doctors for its off label promotion, is a proof that it cheated consumers even if it was aware of severe side effects of the drug. This fact is going to be troublesome for Pfizer for coming Zoloft lawsuits. Pfizer may have to a large amount to settle several lawsuits related to Zoloft lawsuits. It is possible that the pharmaceutical company becomes an object of FDA’s wrath.