Zoloft MDL Adds New Lawsuit Accusing Pfizer of Failure to Warn of Drug’s Risks
A new lawsuit charges that drug company Pfizer’s failure to warn about the dangers of the anti-depressant Zoloft was “willful, wanton, and with intentional disregard to the health and safety of consumers.” The lawsuit, which was filed by plaintiff Stephanie Weaver on June 1, 2012, has been assigned to the Zoloft MDL in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The MDL is being overseen by the Honorable Judge Cynthia M. Rufe.
Weaver is the mother of a minor identified in the lawsuit only as M.W. According to the lawsuit, Weaver took Zoloft during her pregnancy with M.W., who was born on August 30, 2005 at Southview Medical Center in Dayton, Ohio. M.W. was born with birth defects, including multiple congenital heart defects.
Pfizer aware of Zoloft side effects risks, lawsuit alleges
According to the plaintiff’s Zoloft lawyer, “Pfizer knew from preclinical studies and subsequent published studies that dangerous birth defects were associated with Zoloft use during pregnancy” but “failed to adequately warn or remedy the risks and, instead, concealed, suppressed, and failed to disclose the dangers. Despite numerous published studies…Pfizer continues to deny these dangers.”
The Zoloft birth defects lawsuit also accuses Pfizer of “manipulating statistics to suggest widespread acceptability while concealing, misstating, and/or downplaying the known serious side effects” and charges that even today, the Zoloft label does not adequately warn patients and doctors of the risk of birth defects such as Zoloft PPHN (persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn).
SSRI medications linked to numerous birth defects
Zoloft (sertraline) was first approved by the FDA in 1991. It is one of a class of medications known as SSRIs (selective seretonin reuptake inhibitors), a category that also includes Paxil and Prozac.
Numerous lawsuits have been filed by mothers who took Zoloft or other SSRIs during pregnancy and subsequently gave birth to babies with birth defects. Among the birth defects associated with SSRIs are Zoloft PPHN, craniosynostosis (a malformed skull), cleft lip, cleft palate, club foot and other limb abnormalities, omphalocele (a condition in which the baby’s intestine or other abdominal organs stick out of the navel), neural tube defects, abdominal birth defects, and anal atresia (the partial or complete closure of the anus).
Weaver’s Zoloft birth defects lawsuit states that if she had known of drug’s risks, she would not have taken Zoloft. Her Zoloft lawyer is seeking compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $75,000.