A Georgia mother is pursuing financial compensation from Pfizer over her daughter’s club foot injuries and other birth defects, which she alleges was caused by the girl’s exposure during pregnancy to the SSRI antidepressant drug Zoloft. The Zoloft complaint was filed on behalf of Ember Alexis Chupp and her mother, Cassie Chupp, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on March 9, and alleges that Pfizer failed to provide consumers and doctors with adequate warnings about the risk of birth defects from Zoloft use in pregnancy. If you took Zoloft while pregnant, and your child was born with club foot or another life-altering birth defect, contact an experienced Zoloft attorney today to explore your possible compensation options.
Zoloft is one of the best-selling antidepressant drugs on the market in the United States, used by tens of millions of individuals struggling with depression and other psychiatric conditions. However, numerous studies published in recent years have suggested that women who take Zoloft while pregnant may have a significantly increased risk of giving birth to babies with devastating birth defects, including malformed limbs, neural tube birth defects, and oral clefts like cleft lip or cleft palate. In September 2009, a study published in the British Medical Journal found that Zoloft and other SSRI antidepressants increase the risk of heart birth defects when taken during the first trimester of pregnancy, when many women don’t even know they are pregnant.
According to Cassie Chupp’s drug injury complaint, she was prescribed Zoloft shortly after becoming pregnant in 2004, and during an ultrasound in November 2004, doctors discovered that Chupp’s daughter had developed bilateral talipes equinovarus, a condition more commonly known as clubbed feet. As a result of her club foot birth defect, Ember required multiple corrective surgeries and other treatments after she was born, and the child will likely require annual medical monitoring for the rest of her life. “To this day, Pfizer has not informed women of childbearing age or even pregnant women that they should not take Zoloft,” Chupp argues in her complaint. “Pfizer still targets these women as their primary market.”
Cassie Chupps’ Zoloft birth defect lawsuit joins a growing number of drug injury complaints filed on behalf of children who have suffered serious birth defects after being exposed to Zoloft and other antidepressant drugs during pregnancy. All of the Zoloft lawsuits involve similar allegations that Pfizer knew or should have known before Zoloft entered the U.S. market in 1991 that the antidepressant was linked to an increased risk of birth defects, based on preclinical studies that showed the SSRI antidepressant drug caused significant harm to animal fetuses when it was administered during pregnancy. As a result of her daughter’s injuries, Chupp is seeking both compensatory and punitive damages for claims including breach of warranty, failure to warn and negligence.