Zoloft Birth Defect Bellwether Trials
Categories: Defective Drugs
As part of the early discovery process, select Zoloft birth defect cases will be the first trials to be heard in court. The outcome of these bellwether trials, set to begin on October 13, 2014, will potentially set a precedent for the remaining cases. However, the involved parties are in disagreement over how the Zoloft lawsuits should be chosen.
Zoloft (sertraline) was approved by the FDA in 1992 to treat depression and is currently one of the most widely prescribed SSRI anti-depressants in the country. Zoloft has been prescribed to tens of millions of people, however the FDA raised concerns about its safety in November 2006 when the agency added a warning that women were at a six times greater risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension in newborns if they took the drug after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
A link between a risk of brain defects and gastrointestinal abnormalities and the use of anti-depressants, such as Zoloft, in early pregnancy was reported in June 2007. A September 2009 study published in the British Medical Journal found that the risk of heart defects increased when Zoloft was taken in the first trimester.
The plaintiffs allege that they were not adequately informed of potential risks, and that the drug manufacturer, Pfizer, was negligent in producing and marketing an unsafe drug. Some of the deformities alleged by plaintiffs include holes in the heart, clubfeet, spina bifida, skull defects, cleft palates and persistent pulmonary hypertension. However, all of the Zoloft birth defect lawsuit filings share similar claims-that, when taken during pregnancy, the anti-depressant caused fetal malformations.
To better handle litigation, the 430 similar Zoloft lawsuits were consolidated into a multidistrict litigation and centralized in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in April 2012 and are presided over by U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe.
Pfizer and plaintiff attorneys have agreed that the 25 cases in the “Initial Discovery Pool” should be narrowed down to 13 cases chosen by Pfizer and 12 cases chosen by leadership-appointed plaintiff attorneys. Both parties also agree that the “Trial Pool” should consist of six cases, three chosen by each side.
However, Special Discovery Master Andrew A. Chirls recently reported that the parties disagree on how to narrow down the cases. Pfizer wants to select which cases to pursue after the plaintiffs pick their cases. The attorneys feel that in order to be fair, the picks need to be made simultaneously. Furthermore, Pfizer recommends that each side prepare only one case for the October 13, 2014 trial date in order to save money. Meanwhile, the attorneys for the plaintiffs intend to prepare all selected Trial Pool cases at once. In the meantime, the Discovery Master is allowing the parties to disagree until further negotiations can take place.
Zoloft Lawsuit Attorneys
If your baby was born with a birth defect after you took the dangerous drug Zoloft during pregnancy, it is important to know that you are not alone. The national Zoloft lawsuit attorneys at Phillips Law Firm can help. We represent patients across the United States who have been injured or hurt after taking a dangerous drug. If you are interested in learning more about your legal options, call us at 1-800-708-6000. Our Zoloft lawsuit attorneys are waiting to assist you 24/7, offering a free case evaluation. Remember our no fee promise. If we do not recover anything for you, you do not owe us an attorney fee.