In July 2013, a California mother filed a Zoloft birth defect lawsuit against Pfizer in the San Francisco County Superior Court. She joins other mothers who claim that Pfizer, the maker of the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant Zoloft, failed to warn that use of Zoloft in pregnancy increases the risk of birth defects. Born March 2011, her baby suffered heart defects and several other birth defects. Some of the damage is still being uncovered, but the doctors indicate that the child will likely need future surgery and continuous care and treatment, especially for her heart defects.
The lawsuit alleges several counts: Strict liability for failure to warn; negligence; breach of express warranty; deceit by concealment; negligent misrepresentation; fraud; and fraudulent concealment. The lawsuit claims that Pfizer “actively and aggressively promoted Zoloft as being a safe alternative for pregnant women.” She argues that due to the “misleading and inaccurate information that defendants disseminated to physicians,” her doctor prescribed the SSRI Zoloft to his pregnant patient. She further claims that based on animal studies, defendants were aware of damage related to increased serotonin levels and fetal cardiac risks. The lawsuit seeks punitive damages, attorney’s fees, past and future medical expenses, past and future damages, loss of earnings and impaired work capacity, and past and future emotional distress.
Many Zoloft lawsuits against Pfizer have been filed throughout the U.S.. At least 138 cases have been consolidated in the Zoloft Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) in Philadelphia. The first trial of a Zoloft case is scheduled to begin in October of 2014.