Recent research has suggested that the use of anti-depressants such as Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil during pregnancy could be harmful to unborn babies, possibly causing birth defects and other health complications.
Pharmaceutical companies certainly have a responsibility to inform Illinois consumers and the medical community about these risks in order to avoid and prevent these types of injuries. But the medical community also has a responsibility to pass this important information on to their patients, especially when patients are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant. Failing to inform patients about the potential risks of taking anti-depressants or any medication is a form of medical malpractice, and this serious mistake could cause a patient and an unborn child to suffer injuries that could have otherwise been prevented.
Recently, an Illinois couple filed a lawsuit claiming that their twins suffered injuries and complications after being exposed to Zoloft. The twins’ mother had taken the anti-depressant during pregnancy, but she was never informed by pharmaceutical companies or her doctors that the medication could be harmful to her unborn babies.
The couple’s lawsuit was filed earlier this month. According to the 10-count complaint, the twins’ mother continued her use of Zoloft while she was pregnant. Even after experiencing some complications during her pregnancy, doctors did not recommend that the mother discontinue her use of the anti-depressant medication.
When the twins were born on June 3, 2010, the couple was informed that their children were born with heart defects. The babies also suffered from repeated ear infections and problems breathing. As a result of the birth defects, the couple claims that their children’s development was also delayed.
After the children were born, the couple had learned about the risks of using anti-depressants, such as Zoloft, during pregnancy. They are asking that Pfizer, the manufacturer of the medication, and the hospital where the woman sought treatment for pregnancy complications be held liable for their children’s injuries. The lawsuit states that Pfizer and the hospital had a duty to warn the woman and other patients about the dangers of taking Zoloft.
The mother says that she would have never continued using the medication during pregnancy had she known about its risks. Patients certainly have a right to be informed about the risks and side effects of any medication so that they can decide whether or not they want to take those risks.
Source: The Madison-St. Clair Record, “Couple sues Pfizer and St. Elizabeth’s over twins’ Zoloft-related injuries,” Kelly Holleran, June 27, 2012