Effexor Birth Defect MDL - Consumer Justice Foundation

Effexor Birth Defect MDL

Written by Faith Anderson on May 13, 2013
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Pregnancy Risks Linked to Effexor

Effexor, also known generically as venlafaxine, belongs to a class of antidepressant drugs known as serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), which are similar to the more popular SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), and are associated with many of the same side effects as SSRI antidepressants, including birth defects in children exposed to the medications in pregnancy. Since it was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1993, Effexor has become one of the most widely used antidepressants in the United States. The medication has been used by millions of people since its introduction, including many pregnant women who may not have been aware about the risk of birth defect-related side effects.

Pfizer Accused of Failure to Warn Consumers

In a motion filed on April 24, plaintiffs Glenn and Lauren Boyer requested that a panel of federal judges consolidate the birth defect lawsuits involving Effexor and establish an Effexor multidistrict litigation. The majority of pending Effexor lawsuits involve similar allegations that use of the antidepressant drug in pregnancy caused exposed children to develop major heart defects and other congenital malformations. The plaintiffs involved in the Effexor litigation are seeking damages from Pfizer for failing to adequately warn consumers and medical professionals about the risk of Effexor birth defects when the antidepressant is taken during pregnancy.

Future Lawsuits Involving Effexor Birth Defects

Even though there are only 14 Effexor claims currently pending in the federal court system, if an Effexor MDL is approved, all cases involving the antidepressant that are filed in the future would be transferred to the same court for coordinated proceedings. “Due to the widespread use of Effexor and the exceptionally high risk of birth defects posed by the use of Effexor, as shown in the medical literature, it is very likely that dozens of additional similar actions will be filed in or removed to federal courts in the future,” the Boyers claimed in their MDL motion. Because of this expectation, the Boyers requested an Effexor MDL, which is designed to be more convenient, to reduce duplicative discovery among a large number of similar cases, and to avoid conflicting rulings from different judges.

Contact a Reputable Attorney to File a Birth Defect Claim

According to allegations raised in the Effexor litigation, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, now owned by Pfizer, failed to warn the public about the risk of Effexor birth defects, despite signs of a potential birth defect risk during animal trials and despite signs of pregnancy problems with Effexor in post-marketing data. The lawsuits suggest that Wyeth aggressively marketed the antidepressant medication as safe for pregnant women, even though scientific data did not support this assertion. If your child was born with a serious birth defect and you believe the antidepressant Effexor to be the cause, our consumer advocates at the Consumer Justice Foundation can help put you in touch with a qualified birth defect lawyer in your area. With a knowledgeable attorney on your side, you can seek fair and timely reimbursement for your child’s injuries and ensure that your child receives the medical care he or she needs in the future.


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