Pfizer, the manufacturer of Zoloft (sertraline hydrochloride), has asked the Judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA to exclude the testimony of Anick Berard, a professor at the University of Montreal. The Zoloft lawsuits claim that use of Pfizer’s SSRI antidepressant drug during pregnancy increases the risk of birth defects. Zoloft cases from across the country were consolidated under case number 2:12-MD-02342, as part of a Multi-District Litigation (MDL) before Hon. Cynthia Rufe. The Zoloft MDL was created on April 17, 2012.
Professor Berard, who is not a medical doctor, recently published a report linking birth defects to the use of Zoloft during pregnancy. Pfizer argues that Zoloft does not cause birth defects. It contends that Berard picked only the studies that support her opinions and that insufficient research exists to show a clear causal link between use of Zoloft while pregnant and birth defects. Pfizer further asserts that there are no regulator or peer-reviewed studies that show Zoloft causes heart defects, breathing problems and other defects listed in her report.
Plaintiffs claim that Pfizer knew or should have known that Zoloft causes serious and sometimes fatal birth defects and failed to warn women and their doctors of Zoloft birth defects risks.