On October 28, 2013, six more lawsuits were filed in Wayne County, West Virginia against the manufacturer of Zoloft (Pfizer Inc.) alleging that the plaintiffs’ babies suffered birth defects as a result of their mothers’ use of Zoloft during their pregnancies. The plaintiffs allege that they were prescribed Zoloft by their physicians during their pregnancies and that they took Zoloft in the manner and in the dosage as prescribed. The plaintiffs allege that their babies were born with congenital birth defects that include atrial septal defects, multiple holes in the heart, craniofacial defects, neural tube defects, and/or that their babies suffer from persistent pulmonary hypertension, as a result of exposure to Zoloft.
The plaintiffs allege that Pfizer knew or should have known that Zoloft causes serious birth defects and that Zoloft is a defective drug that is dangerous to human health and is unfit and unsuitable to be marketed. The plaintiffs further allege that Pfizer failed to provide proper warnings regarding the use of Zoloft during pregnancy, for which the plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages.
The six recent Wayne County lawsuits against Pfizer involving Zoloft are just the most recent Zoloft lawsuits filed in Wayne County, West Virginia. In 2012, there were 19 Zoloft lawsuits filed against Pfizer. All but one of the nineteen lawsuits were removed by the defendants from the West Virginia state court to federal court in August 2012. Just over one month later, a federal judge ordered that the Zoloft lawsuits be returned to the Wayne County state court. The defendants appealed the remand orders to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which sent the cases back to the Wayne County Circuit Court in July 2013.
Zoloft belongs to a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Women who are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or who are breastfeeding should not take Zoloft without consulting their physician. According to the manufacturer’s website for Zoloft, “ZOLOFT [(sertraline HCl)] is approved by the FDA to treat in adults Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), and Social Anxiety Disorder. It is also approved to treat Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in children and adolescents aged 6-17 years.”
In July 2006, the FDA issued an alert in which it stated, “A recently published case-control study has shown that infants born to mothers who took selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (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 (see SSRI drug names at the bottom of this sheet). The background risk of a woman giving birth to an infant affected by PPHN in the general population is estimated to be about 1 to 2 infants per 1000 live births. Neonatal PPHN is associated with significant morbidity and mortality.”
If your baby may have suffered birth defects or other harms from Zoloft, you should promptly consult with a local medical malpractice lawyer in your U.S. state who may investigate your Zoloft claim for you and represent you in Zoloft case, if appropriate.
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