Pfizer Inc. has recently been cleared in a second lawsuit regarding the risk of one of its leading antidepressants, Zoloft.
A Child Born With Heart Defects
The lawsuit was filed by Rachel Robinson after she took Zoloft during her pregnancy. Her daughter, Mia Robinson, suffered from heart abnormalities that thousands of other children have developed after their mothers took Zoloft during pregnancy. Robinson and her attorneys claimed that Pfizer did not provide proper labeling and warnings about the possibility of children developing heart defects after their mothers used the drug during their pregnancy.
Court Finds Pfizer Provided Adequate Warning
The jury found that the labels on Zoloft provided an adequate warning about the potential risks of using Zoloft while pregnant. Pfizer included a warning to physicians about considering the potential risks associated with the drug before prescribing to pregnant women.
A Popular Drug
Zoloft is a massively popular drug. In 2003, Pfizer recorded more than $3 billion in sales of the pill.
The medication is used to treat depression, panic, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. It works by inhibiting serotonin in the brain, because serotonin imbalances in the brain can be responsible for a number of the above symptoms.
With the massive popularity of the drug, it is no surprise that thousands of people have suffered from similar birth defects to those of Mia Robinson. It is estimated that Pfizer currently faces more than 1,000 lawsuits from mothers whose children ended up with similar heart problems after using Zoloft while pregnant. It is likely that many of those other lawsuits will be dropped following the loss faced by Rachel and Mia Robinson. This was the second time Pfizer has won a Zoloft case this year.
Evidence Mounts Against Pfizer’s Zoloft
These victories for Pfizer come even after those suing presented some serious evidence against them. A scientist that had worked for Pfizer warned them that Zoloft presented serious risks for pregnant women. Even though this risk was presented to the Pfizer safety committee, no changes were made to the labeling of the drug. The safety commission cited that it was not proven that Zoloft caused these effects. It was also found that in 1998 a report came forward that showed that more than a dozen cases of birth defects as a result of Zoloft.
Pfizer continues to state that there is not enough proof to adequately conclude that Zoloft is behind these birth defects or that they did anything wrong. No major medical group has raised questions about the potential dangers of using Zoloft during pregnancy. There is no doubt that many people have suffered when taking the drug. Only time will tell if Pfizer was in the wrong and if some sort of retribution will be given to those that have been hurt. As of this point, regardless of what one thinks about Pfizer’s actions, it looks as though they will not receive any sort of punishment.