Families whose children suffered birth defects as a result of taking Zoloft during pregnancy may be eligible for product liability settlements to recover damages. According to product liability lawsuits already filed against Pfizer, parents have filed claims alleging that Pfizer failed to adequately disclose the risks and potential side effects of Zoloft to customers and the medical community. Specifically, the potential side effects on unborn children.
Introduced in 1991 by Pfizer, Zoloft is an antidepressant which is one of the United States’ most widely prescribed medications. Anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and depression are commonly treated with Zoloft. However, if used during pregnancy, Zoloft has been linked to an increased risk of infant malformation and birth defects.
Increases in birth defects that have been linked to Zoloft include:
- Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)
- Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)
- Pulmonary Stenosis (pulmonary valve disorder)
- Pulmonary Atresia (pulmonary valve defect)
- Transposition of Great Arteries
- Heart Valve Defects
- Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS)
- Contraction of the Aorta (CoA)
- Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN)
- Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF)
- Anal Atresia (anus or rectum malformation/defect)
- Club Foot
- Omphalocele (abdominal wall defect)
- Craniosynostosis (skull defect)
- Spina Bifida/Neural Tube Defects
Cases filed in federal court against Pfizer have been consolidated as part of a multi-district litigation. According to a pretrial order, 25 Zoloft birth defect lawsuits will be selected to undergo case-specific discovery, the first trial scheduled for late 2014. Of these 25 cases, 12 will be selected by the plaintiffs, while 13 will be selected by Pfizer’s attorneys.
One of the major questions in any product liability settlement is how the jury will respond to the evidence and testimony presented. The results of these trials could give some indication of the success of future Zoloft product liability settlements. Individuals who took Zoloft during pregnancy and whose children suffered any of the birth defects listed above should consult an attorney to explore their options for litigation.