Pfizer’s own researchers observed that pregnant women taking Zoloft could be susceptible to giving birth to babies with birth defects, yet that information was not made public. At least that is what is being contended in court as the makers of Zoloft face over 1,000 lawsuits.
Zoloft’s Makers Accused of Wrongdoing
Zoloft is an antidepressant that proved to be very successful for its manufacturer. In 2005 alone, sales of the prescription drug raked in $2.6 billion.
Prosecuting lawyers claim that internal studies revealed the risk to newborns long before Pfizer was sued for birth defects. Those same lawyers allege that the company ignored this information in favor of earning profits. And by doing so, doctors and patients alike never knew that the children of pregnant women could face congenital anomalies, such as heart defects.
Pfizer Claims Innocence
Pfizer dismissed all the allegations aimed at them and stated that they consider all external studies to be incorrect.
The company deemed its own research to be trustworthy and asserts that they never found any sign that the drug could cause birth defects. Safety data provided by Pfizer did not contain any sign of congenital anomalies that would develop because of Zoloft. Furthermore, they claim that studies by third parties never proved a connection between the drug and birth defects in newborns.
Victims Fight Back
A similar case involved the BigPharma giant GlaxosmithKline and one of its drugs, Paxil, which is in the same class of medications as Zoloft. In this case, Paxil was also blamed for causing birth defects. The company faced 800 complaints and had to pay out compensations of $3 billion because it failed to provide real information on the side effects of its drug. Paxil was also on the market long before anyone knew what it could really do.
Victims feel the marketing of Zoloft was deceitful and manipulative. They believe that there were never enough details on its effects on a pregnancy, nor a clear warning to illuminate its true risks. These victims are fighting back in the court room, but they will need to wait on the court’s ruling to see if they will receive justice.