Florida mom files Illinois Zoloft heart defects lawsuit

On May 31, 2013, a Florida woman filed an Illinois Zoloft heart defects lawsuit in St. Clair County Circuit Court in Belleville, IL against the makers of Zoloft and its generic, sertraline. The lawsuit claims that her daughter was born with serious heart defects caused by use of Zoloft during pregnancy. The suit alleges that the drug was prescribed despite known risks of heart defect side effects associated with taking Zoloft while pregnant.

The lawsuit was filed against Pfizer, Inc., Greenstone, LLC, and Roerig S.A., and Pfizer R & D Cortex District. Pfizer, Inc is the Chicago-based pharmaceutical company that manufactures Zoloft. Greenstone, LLC, formerly known as Greenstone Ltd., is a subsidiary of Pfizer, Inc. that produces and sells sertraline hydrochloride, the generic version of Zoloft. Roerig S.A. also is a subsidiary of Pfizer, Inc..

Zoloft is in a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants. Paxil, Prozac, Celexa, and Lexapro also are SSRI antidepressants. In 2006, the FDA issued a drug safety alert for SSRI medications. The alert warned that infants born to mothers who took SSRIs after the 20th week of pregnancy were “6 times more likely to have persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN) than infants born to mothers who did not take antidepressants during pregnancy.”

Zoloft is a FDA pregnancy “Category C” drug which means that animal studies have been done that show an adverse effect on the fetus, but no human studies have been done to prove that it can interfere with the development of a human fetus and cause birth defects.

The Florida mother claims that the manufacturers knew of the risks to pregnant women, but hid information showing Zoloft pregnancy risks. She further alleges that Zoloft was defectively designed, inadequately tested and the marketed without proper warnings. She seeks damages in excess of $300,000 and court fees under the counts of negligence, fraud and failure to warn.

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