Parents file birth defects lawsuit against makers of Zoloft

Parents of children with birth defects who were exposed to the antidepressant Zoloft during gestation are suing the drug maker claiming the mothers took the antidepressant only because they believed it to be a safe medication to take during pregnancy.

The plaintiffs allege that their children were born with varying birth defects including heart defects, neural tube defects, gastroschisis, omphalocele, craniosynostosis, cleft lip, club foot, anal atresia, and limb reduction defects. They blame the drug.

“Pfizer knew or should have known that Zoloft crosses the placenta, which could have important implications for the developing fetus,” the lawsuit states. The plaintiffs allege that Pfizer instead marketed Zoloft as the safest antidepressant to take during pregnancy.

Zoloft is in a class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. Other drugs in this class include Paxil, Celexa, Lexapro, and Prozac. All SSRIs were classified as Category C pregnancy drugs, meaning that no studies have proven risks to developing fetuses. However, recent studies proving Paxil causes birth defects have required the reclassification of Paxil to a Category D pregnancy drug.

SSRIs are among the most prescribed medications in the country, and drug companies make millions off these drugs. The plaintiffs in the Zoloft lawsuit claim that Pfizer kept reports of complications in fetuses under wraps to protect its empire. The drug maker disputes these claims.

The lawsuit alleges strict products liability, breach of express warranty, negligence, misrepresentation by omission, negligent misrepresentation, fraud and misrepresentation, fraud by concealment, violation of consumer protection laws, and breach of implied warranties. The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory damages, statutory remedies, a disgorgement of profits and pre-judgment interests.

Attorneys with Beasley Allen Law Firm are currently investigating cases of birth defects allegedly associated with Zoloft and any other SSRI.

Source: The Madison St. Clair Record