A California mother has filed a lawsuit against Pfizer, the parent company of the anti-depressant drug, Zoloft, for causing a life threatening heart defect in her newborn child. Her lawsuit comes after a long line of pending suits across the United States against Pfizer for birth defects including heart and lung defects, cranial malformations, PPHN (Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn), encephalopathy, respiratory distress, cleft lip/palate, abdominal wall defects, and autism.
The woman alleges that Pfizer is guilty of, “strict product liability, gross negligence, breach of express warranty, misrepresentation by omission and fraud by concealment, among other things.” After being prescribed Zoloft to treat depression during her pregnancy, she assumed it would not be harmful to her unborn child, but Pfizer had misrepresented the drug, and provided false information to healthcare providers, by stating that Zoloft was safe to take during pregnancy.
Prozac, another anti-depressant, suffered lawsuits in the 1990s, after being linked as a cause of birth defects, and harmful tendencies in adults, including suicidal thoughts and violent behavior. In 2001, Prozac released their patent, and other drug companies began using the formula, marketing it under different names, such as Sarafem, Rapiflux, and Selfemra. Despite the lawsuits, Prozac was not recalled or taken off the market, but instead was ordered to put a black label on the box warning of possible harmful side effects for adults and pregnant women. In both cases, the parent drug companies were accused of negligence in failing to warn doctors and consumers about the dangerous side effects.
Prescribing anti-depressants to pregnant women to treat depression and anxiety is a common practice, with Zoloft and Prozac being among the most common drugs prescribed today. Most women who take anti-depressants before becoming pregnant are encouraged by doctors to continue taking medication throughout their pregnancy so they do not experience withdrawal. Despite the obvious connections to birth defects, and long histories of lawsuits, drug companies are still allowed to get away with heavily concealing the true nature of their drugs, and a lot of doctors and patients are still in the dark.
If you are pregnant, and currently taking prescription anti-depressants, please consult your doctor on the risks your medication can cause, and know the signs of birth injuries caused by these drugs. If your infant has obtained birth injuries from prolonged exposure to anti-depressants such as Zoloft or Prozac, the lawyers at Hodes Milman Liebeck can help you get the justice you deserve. Contact us today online at hmlm.com or call (949) 640-8222 for a complimentary case evaluation.