Six West Virginians File Lawsuits, Claiming Zoloft Use During Pregnancy Caused Birth Defects

perscription-drugs-2-1160103-m.jpgRecently, six lawsuits were filed in Wayne County against Pfizer, Inc., the company that manufacturers Zoloft, the antidepressant. The injured parties claimed that as a result of the mothers taking the antidepressant during their pregnancies, they gave birth to infants with birth defects. These birth defects include neural tube defects, craniofacial defects, atrial septal defects, pulmonary hypertension, and multiple holes in the heart.

The injured parties included the mothers and the affected children. In each of their product liability lawsuits, they claim that they took Zoloft as prescribed by their physicians; that Zoloft is defective, dangerous to human health, unsuitable to be marketed and sold, and lacks a proper warning of its dangers; and that Pfizer knew or should have known of the consequences of taking Zoloft. The injured parties are seeking compensatory damages and punitive damages.

Zoloft lawsuits have been growing increasingly common across the country, as more evidence emerges of its effects on fetal development. Zoloft is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant; this class of antidepressant has been linked to birth defects, as well as other health problems, such as heart problems or internal bleeding. Zoloft itself (or the generic name, Sertraline) has been designated by the federal Food and Drug Administration as a Pregnancy Category C drug — meaning that studies have found that it causes damage to animal fetuses, but no studies have yet shown that it causes damage to human fetuses. If Zoloft does show damage to fetuses in an organized study, it may get relabeled as a Pregnancy Category D drug, at which point the choice to take it may hinge on whether the outcome would be worth the risks. Paxil, another SSRI, has been designated a Pregnancy Category D drug.

Those who experience health problems, or have children born with birth defects, as a result of taking an antidepressant have the option of filing a product liability lawsuit. To succeed on a product liability lawsuit, one must prove that the manufacturer had a duty to produce and market a reasonably safe product; that the manufacturer breached that duty by permitting an unreasonably dangerous product to be marketed; that as a result of the breach, the injured party was injured; and as a result of the injury, the injured party suffered damage. With product liability, the manufacturer does not need to be negligent to be found liable; instead, the manufacturer could be found strictly liable based on the safety of the product. A product is usually considered unreasonably dangerous when it is (1) designed to be unreasonably dangerous, (2) is defective coming off of the assembly line, or (3) has an inadequate warning label. If you are injured by a defective product, contact a West Virginia product liability attorney and discuss your options.

The Wolfe Law Firm has been providing legal services for nearly 25 years. Located in Elkins, West Virginia, the firm provides services in the areas of personal injury, criminal defense, bankruptcy, and mediation. If you are looking for an experienced West Virginia attorney, contact us today.

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