A Utah mother recently filed suit against Pfizer, Inc., makers of the antidepressant Zoloft, alleging that the drug caused serious and life-threatening heart defects in her newborn son. The boy was born in March, 2004, and underwent open heart surgery to save his life at just six days of age. Five subsequent heart surgeries were necessary to preserve his life. In 2010, his mother was told that he might eventually require further operations to deal with complications of the defects. Over the long term, he may need a pacemaker and ultimately a heart transplant.
The new lawsuit was filed as part of the Zoloft MDL in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. It joins an increasing number of suits alleging that Pfizer fraudulently promoted Zoloft for use by pregnant women, despite knowing its risk of causing birth defects. Even in the face of these claims, a Zoloft recall appears highly unlikely.
Like other Zoloft lawsuits, the Utah mother’s case claims that Pfizer ignored the mounting evidence of Zoloft pregnancy risks shown in a growing body of scholarly research, and that it aggressively marketed the SSRI antidepressant drug to women who are and who could become pregnant. Pfizer also is accused of negligence and unjust enrichment. The suit seeks compensation for the high cost of the child’s surgeries, for emotional duress, and for punitive damages.
Zoloft was approved by the FDA for use in the United States in 1992. Neither the drug’s use by pregnant women nor its effect on unborn children was tested. Since then, Pfizer has marketed the drug to doctors as safe for childbearing women, women who are trying to conceive, and to pregnant women. The company has also marketed Zoloft directly to these women. Unfortunately, its calculated strategy has paid off. With over 27 million prescriptions filled, Zoloft is the most prescribed antidepressant in the United States.
Sadly, even with an ever growing number of Zoloft lawsuits filed against Pfizer, even with mounting research showing Zoloft linked to an increased risk of birth defects, no sufficient safety measures have been implemented. There have been no adequate warnings and no recalls. Sales and marketing continue as before. Zoloft litigation continues move forward.
If you took Zoloft during pregnancy and your child was born with a birth defect, you may have a right to substantial financial compensation and should contact an experienced Zoloft litigation attorney.