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Pfizer Hit with Another Pfizer Birth Defect Lawsuit

Feb 14, 2012 | Parker Waichman LLP

Zoloft birth defects lawsuits continue to pile up against Pfizer.   Most recently, a woman from Chicago filed suit against the drug maker claiming her mother's us of Zoloft while pregnant caused her to be born with  serious birth defects, including cleft palate and cleft lip, in 1991.

Angela Rife, who filed suit in December in Illinois' St Clair County Circuit Court, is asking for more than $75,000 in actual damages in addition to punitive damages "in a fair and reasonable amount to deter Pfizer and others from engaging in the wrongful conduct."  She alleges Pfizer knew of the dangerous side effects associated with taking the drug while pregnant,  failed to properly test the antidepressant and failed to warn patients of the risk of serious birth defects.

A growing number of studies have linked Zoloft use in pregnancy with serious birth defects, including persistent pulmonary hypertension in newborns (PPHN), heart defects, lung defects, abdominal defects, cranial defects and other malformations. Pfizer is facing more than 50 birth defect lawsuits in courts around the country, and most legal experts expect that more will be filed. 

Last month, the Pfizer filed a motion with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to have Zoloft birth defect lawsuits transferred to the Southern District of New York, where Pfizer is headquartered. Pfizer also suggested that, as an alternative, the Northern District of Mississippi, the Southern District of Mississippi, or the Northern District of Ohio could also be suitable for the proposed Zoloft birth defect litigation.


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