The Zoloft lawsuit trial against drug maker Pfizer is continuing before a jury in St. Louis, MO. The lawsuit claims that a young boy, the Plaintiff in the case, suffered several birth defects due to his mother’s ingestion of Zoloft when she was pregnant. While there are many suits against Pfizer alleging similar injuries, this is the first Zoloft birth defects jury trial.
The boy’s mother took Zoloft during her first trimester of pregnancy. The boy was born with numerous heart defects, including transposition of the great arteries (TGA); he has undergone over 25 procedures and multiple operations.
In opening statements, the boy’s lawyer told the jury that adverse events have been reported by patients since 1991 when Zoloft was introduced on the U.S. market. These events included both birth defects and fetal deaths. The lawyer stated that this trend was clearly visible. He described to the jury a Pfizer internal report in which the company admitted the increased risk of heart defects. He stated that despite the known Zoloft birth defects risks, Pfizer failed to change the Zoloft warning label to adequately communicate the risks to physicians and patients.
Currently there are over 1,000 Zoloft lawsuits pending against Pfizer alleging it failed to warn of birth defects risks. Most of the mothers who are involved in these lawsuits took Zoloft during the mid-2000s. In 2005, Zoloft was one of the most popular drugs on the market and Pfizer’s take from Zoloft was about $2.6 billion. Last year, even with generics on the market, Zoloft sales generated approximately $433 million in revenue for Pfizer.
Drug company GlaxoSmithKline faced a similar lawsuits over their antidepressant Paxil and reportedly paid $1 billion to settle 800 birth defects suits that were filed against it.
The St. Louis Zoloft trial is scheduled to resume on Monday, April 13, 2015.