A Louisiana couple has filed a lawsuit alleging that the anti-nausea medicine Reglan caused their child to suffer birth defects after the mother was prescribed it during her pregnancy. While Reglan normally is associated with the movement disorder Tardive Dyskinesia, the full range of its side effects has not necessarily been explored.
The complaint, which began in state court but has since been transferred to federal court, states that Lindsey Whitener was prescribed the anti-nausea medication to help her cope with morning sickness that had persisted into her seventh week of pregnancy. The first trimester of a pregnancy is a critical time in the development of the child, making it a contentious period regarding the prescription of any strong medications. Their son, Lucas, was born with so many health problems and complications that he was hospitalized for a full six months after being born. He further suffers from permanent disability that his parents blame on the Reglan prescription.
As mentioned, this case is unusual in that it departs from the normal pattern of Reglan cases. However, the Whiteners claim that they have shown their case to a number of physicians since discovering Lucas’ illness, and none has been able to rule out the involvement of Reglan in their son’s birth defects. As such, they wish to have their day in court and demand answers from multiple sources.
The case is wide-ranging in its choice of defendants, as well. It targets the companies Pliva Pharmaceuticals, Barr Laboratories, Teva Pharmaceuticals and Watson Pharmaceuticals — all are generic manufacturers of Reglan. The suit also names the Rue de Sante Women’s Medical Center and John McCrossen, presumably the hospital and doctor involved in prescribing the medication to Mrs. Whitener.
Last year, a federal judge ruled that the many Reglan cases currently pending would not be consolidated into a larger lawsuit, but would rather need to proceed individually. As such, the Whitener case will have to be presented in its own separate venue, and bears watching.