Antidepressant drug makers including Pfizer, Wyeth, Eli Lilly and GlaxoSmithKline will be required to apply a suicide warning label to these medications for patients up to age 25, extending the previous FDA mandate on the 'black box warning' sticker that applied until age 18. While the majority of patients taking the mood-altering drugs are above age 25, prescriptions for the youth bracket dropped fully 20% following the initial FDA recommendation of the warning in early 2005 - a falloff that's likely to occur now in the 18-25 age group as well. The FDA panel found that men and women under 25 who took antidepressants were twice as likely to attempt suicide or prepare for a suicide attempt than those who took placebos. Data did not support extending the warning to patients over this age. The antidepressant market was $17 billion last year, with Pfizer's Zoloft, Wyeth's Effexor and Lilly's Prozac leading in sales.
• Sources: Associated Press, New York Times, Reuters
• Related commentary: Wall Street Unhappy With Eli Lilly's Forecast for 2007, Searching for Value Investments in the Drug Stock Universe, Big Pharma's Big Decision: Diversify Or Focus?, Pfizer Setback: Disappointing, But Not Catastrophic
• Potentially impacted stocks: Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY), GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK), Wyeth (WYE), Pfizer (NYSE:PFE)
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