• New York Parents Charge Pfizer Actively Concealed True Risks Of Birth Defects To Infants From Zoloft When Prescribed To Mothers During Pregnancy
  • May 10, 2013 | Author: Wendy R. Fleishman
  • Law Firm: Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP - New York Office
  • Wendy R. Fleishman, a personal injury lawyer at the national plaintiffs' law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, and co-counsel Jack Meyerson and Debora O'Neill of Meyerson & O'Neill of Philadelphia, announced that Kori and Jami Wolcott, residents of Rochester, New York, filed a lawsuit against pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, Inc., for the permanent and devastating injuries their minor son suffered from birth defects allegedly caused by Zoloft, an antidepressant prescription drug manufactured and sold by Pfizer, Inc. that was prescribed to the mother during her pregnancy.

    Kori Wolcott's physician prescribed the Zoloft during her pregnancy. In March 2003, the Wolcott's son, C.W., was born with multiple congenital birth defects and malformations, including severe aortic valve stenosis, which is an aortic valve disorder consisting of a narrowing of the aorta causing obstruction of blood flow from leaving the heart to the body.

    Complications of the disease include shortness of breath, fainting, chest pain, and potentially fatal heart failure. In August 2003, baby C.W. underwent surgery to enlarge his narrowed heart valve.

    Despite the surgery, C.W.'s aortic valve stenosis is a permanent condition with which he will struggle for the rest of his life. C.W.'s heart has and must be continually monitored by specialists. He is at an increased risk for future heart problems requiring surgery such as valve replacement.

    When taken by pregnant women, Zoloft and its generic version Sertraline can enter the fetal bloodstream. Doctors have prescribed Zoloft to women of childbearing age, as well as women already pregnant.

    The lawsuit, filed last week in New York state court, charges that Pfizer knew or should have known that Zoloft was linked to serious birth defects, including heart malformations, cranial defects, and abdominal defects, and should have fully informed doctors and the public of these risks.

    "We intend to prove that Pfizer knew of the risk of dangerous birth defects associated with Zoloft and other antidepressant prescription drugs when used during pregnancy both from preclinical studies and subsequent published studies," stated Ms. Fleishman. "Yet, Pfizer took no action to properly study the risk of birth defects linked to Zoloft. Instead, the complaint charges, Pfizer concealed, suppressed, downplayed, and failed to disclose these dangers."

    The complaint seeks to recover damages for the medical and other expenses related to the treatment for C.W.'s birth defects, disorders, and related illnesses. "As early as the 1990's, scientific studies began to show a relationship between use of antidepressants during pregnancy and serious birth defects." stated Ms. O'Neill. "Despite this medical research, the complaint alleges, Pfizer failed, and continues to fail, to warn that Zoloft increased the likelihood of serious birth defects."

    "To this day, Pfizer still has not provided an adequate warning on the Zoloft label to physicians, the medical community, and the public about the increased risk of birth defects associated with Zoloft use during pregnancy," added Ms. Fleishman.

    Further Legal Resources for Parents

    Parents of a baby with severe birth defects whose mother took Zoloft or other anti-depressant prescription drugs while pregnant may visit www.BirthDefectLegalResources.com to learn about your rights. You may be eligible to file a claim against the manufacturer of the anti-depressant drug prescribed during pregnancy to obtain compensation for the injury inflicted on your baby.