Beth Botelho was devastated when she learned her newborn daughter Marissa had a congenital heart defect.
“It was apparent something was really wrong,” she told Fox25 in Boston. “She needed open heart surgery. She was on life support. She was on a feeding tube. Initially, it was very overwhelming.”
Botelho believes the anti-nausea drug Zofran, which she took to treat morning sickness, caused her daughter’s birth defect.
Zofran, made by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), is FDA-approved to treat nausea and vomiting in patients with cancer and following surgery. It has also been prescribed, off label, to treat morning sickness in pregnant women. However, the medication has been linked to birth defects, including heart defects and cleft palate.
More than 220 lawsuits have been filed against GSK claiming the company illegally marketed Zofran to doctors as a treatment for morning sickness, causing mothers to deliver babies with birth defects.
In 2012, GSK paid $3 billion to settle charges waged by the Department of Justice of “unlawful promotion” and “failure to report safety data” with several drugs including Zofran during 2002 and 2004.
That knowledge is startling for Botelho, who says she does not know what kind of life her daughter will have because of her compromised health. “My hope is that we can make her life a bit easier, given that life is going to be alittle bit of a struggle for her, I hope we can do that,” she said.
Source: My Fox Boston