Broadened Usage of Zoloft approved

NEW YORK -- Pfizer Inc. said it has won federal approval to broaden usage of its antidepressant, Zoloft, to include treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder, promising to boost sales of the hot drug.

Pfizer made the disclosure at a well-received presentation to industry analysts yesterday, at which it also touted a research pipeline overflowing with a wide range of major new medications.

The approval by the Food and Drug Administration of the broader claims for Zoloft marks a reversal of fortune for Pfizer. Earlier this year the FDA had slapped the company with a warning letter for making unapproved claims for Zoloft, including the compulsive-disorder usage. Zoloft's major competitors already are approved for treating the disorder.

By year's end, Pfizer also plans to apply to the FDA for approval to market Zoloft to treat depression in children.

Pfizer executives said the company will apply for approval for nine new medications over the next three years, including drugs for bacterial infections, impotence, schizophrenia, and abnormal heart rhythms.

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