In what is thought to be the first lawsuit associating the use of the antidepressant Effexor in pregnant women with birth defects has been filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. The lawsuit alleges that Ohio infant Adelaide died because of birth anomalies directly caused by the mother’s use of the antidepressant, and that the drug makers, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and Pfizer Inc., knew about or should have known about the increased risks of birth defects when the drug is taken by pregnant women, and that the companies failed to warn consumers and physicians about those risks.
The lawsuit contains 16 counts against the two drug companies and Wolters Kluwer Health/United States, the drug labeling company, which also distributes information regarding the antidepressant. Among the 16 counts are allegations of negligence, failure to warn, fraud, and misrepresentation.
The lawsuit, Boyer & Boyer v. Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, et al., says that shortly after taking her first breath on February 11, 2010, baby Adelaide was discovered to have lethal cardiac anomalies, which included a malformed aorta, a malformed mitral valve, severe left hypoplastic heart, no aortic valve, and other related injury. The lawsuit claims that these defects were directly caused by Adelaide’s mother’s use of Effexor.
An attorney for the plaintiffs said in a news release, that “It is likely that the defendants had evidence to the contrary of what was disseminated for public information,” and that “To minimize and understate the risks was to place Adelaide and her family in an experiment they would have never consented to.”