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Shainyah Lancaster Archives - Carey Danis & Lowe

Zoloft Lawsuit Underscores Parents’ Heartbreak

By | Pharmaceutical litigation, Uncategorized, Zoloft

Posted March 18, 2012 on LawsuitInformation.org

St. Louis, MO: The recent filing of a Zoloft birth defects lawsuit underscores the pain, heartbreak and frustration evident in the plaintiffs—parents of innocent children who came into the world saddled with life-altering defects allegedly at the behest of the SSRI antidepressant, Zoloft.

It is no secret that antidepressants have been a success for pharmaceutical companies. They also represent important options in the tool belts and treating protocols of psychiatrists and medical doctors, for the treatment of depression.

However, the link between Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors and birth defects, such as Zoloft cleft palate, have driven the parents of 18 children suffering from Zoloft defects to the courts.

Reuters reports that the lawsuit filed by plaintiff Shainyah Lancaster et al last month in St. Louis, accuses Zoloft manufacturer Pfizer of suppressing information to the medical community and the public at large as to the risks associated with Zoloft when used by women of childbearing age. The lawsuit further alleges that Pfizer knew or should have known of the existence of SSRI studies, which suggested a greater risk of congenital birth defects in concert with a Zoloft pregnancy.

The Zoloft birth defects lawsuit further alleges that Pfizer was aware that Zoloft was being prescribed to pregnant women by their doctors, but that Pfizer failed to warn the medical community about the risks.

Zoloft has been the center of controversy for some time. Dr. Sidney Wolfe, of the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, took Pfizer to task for promoting Zoloft for unapproved uses. In a statement released in October 1996, Wolfe referenced a communiqué directed to Pfizer from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in August of that year, chastising Pfizer for promoting Zoloft for use in cardiac patients with depression, amongst other unapproved uses.

More recently, Peter Breggin MD, blogging in the Huffington Post on June 28, 2007, noted the spin that often accompanies the release of data. He noted that headlines and media reports surrounding the release of data from a 2007 study seemed to downplay the risks associated with SSRI drugs—Zoloft among them—even though, according to Breggin, “several severe birth defects were doubled or nearly tripled in frequency when SSRIs were taken in the first trimester. This combined with the other known toxic effects of SSRIs, including brain damage and dysfunction, make these drugs contraindicated in pregnancy.”

One of those defects—Zoloft craniosynostosis—was described in Dr. Breggin’s blog post as “the premature closing of one or more sutures or fibrous joints knitting the bones of the infant’s skull.” He noted that craniosynostosis occurs in about four per 10,000 births according to the National Institutes of Health. “A 2.8 times greater occurrence of this condition will cause 2,305 more US babies to be born each year with this birth defect as a result of their mothers taking SSRIs in the first trimester of pregnancy.”

The particular afflictions of the 18 children who allegedly suffer from Zoloft birth defects were not identified in the news reports. However, regardless of the defect suffered by the Zoloft child—Zoloft PPHN, cleft palate or Zoloft heart defects—it is assumed that their parents are facing a lifetime of stormy seas as the result of having a Zoloft newborn. As Zoloft parents face reality, they equally expect Pfizer to face the music.

St. Louis-based Carey Danis & Lowe Announces Suit Against the Maker of Zoloft Sent Back to St. Louis Circuit Court

By | Pharmaceutical litigation, Uncategorized, Zoloft

Posted April 11, 2012

Pfizer’s attempt to litigate lawsuit in federal court rebuffed

ST. LOUIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–St. Louis–based law firm Carey Danis & Lowe announces a lawsuit against Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE), maker of the antidepressant drug Zoloft, that was originally filed in St. Louis Circuit Court then removed to federal court by the drugmaker, has been ordered back to the state court.

The lawsuit, Shainyah Lancaster, et al. v. Pfizer, Inc., cause no. 1222-CC00766, was filed on Feb. 2 in St. Louis Circuit Court on behalf of 21 children born with defects after their mothers were prescribed Zoloft while pregnant. The suit was brought on behalf of the plaintiffs by the law firms of Carey Danis & Lowe; Matthews & Associates; Freese & Goss; and Clark, Burnett, Love & Lee.

On March 8, Pfizer removed the case to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri alleging that diversity of citizenship existed between the plaintiffs and the defendant. The lawyers representing the plaintiffs opposed the effort to remove the case to federal court. (S.L., et al. v. Pfizer, Inc., Case 4:12-cv-00420).

On April 4, U.S. District Judge Carol E. Jackson sided with the plaintiffs and ruled that the federal court did not have jurisdiction over the lawsuit because complete diversity of citizenship did not exist, granted the plaintiffs’ motion to remand and sent the case back to St. Louis Circuit Court for further proceedings.

Zoloft (generic name sertraline) belongs to a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. The suit notes that SSRIs have been found to cause severe birth defects in the children of women who were prescribed the drug while pregnant and alleges that Pfizer knew or should have known that children born to mothers who had taken SSRIs during pregnancy had a greater risk of congenital birth defects and that despite knowing that physicians were prescribing Zoloft to women of childbearing age, Pfizer failed to adequately warn the medical community and the public of the danger.

The lawsuit asserts state law claims against Pfizer of negligence; negligence of pharmacovigilance, which requires Pfizer to monitor safety data for its drugs; strict liability; negligent design; failure to warn; and fraud. The suit seeks actual and punitive damages.

Founded in 1995, Carey Danis & Lowe has offices in Missouri and Illinois. The firm handles personal injury, pharmaceutical liability, product liability, medical malpractice, class action and commercial cases throughout the United States.

St. Louis-based Carey Danis & Lowe Announces Suit Against the Maker of Zoloft

By | Pharmaceutical litigation, Uncategorized, Zoloft

Posted February 29, 2012 by LawsuitInformation.org

Alleges Pfizer hid birth defect risks to pregnant mothers prescribed the antidepressant

ST. LOUIS, Feb 06, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — St. Louis–based law firm Carey Danis & Lowe announces the filing of a lawsuit on behalf of 18 plaintiffs against Pfizer PFE -0.04% , maker of the antidepressant drug Zoloft.

Zoloft (generic name sertraline) belongs to a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Zoloft for the treatment of major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, acute post–traumatic stress disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder and social anxiety disorder.

The lawsuit, Shainyah Lancaster, et al. v. Pfizer, Inc., cause no. 1222-CC00766, was filed on Feb. 2 in St. Louis Circuit Court on behalf of 18 children born with defects after their mothers were prescribed Zoloft while pregnant. The suit was brought on behalf of the plaintiffs by the law firms of Carey Danis & Lowe; Matthews & Associates; Freese & Goss; and Clark, Burnett, Love & Lee.

The suit notes that SSRIs have been found to cause severe birth defects in the children of women who were prescribed the drug while pregnant and alleges that Pfizer knew or should have known of SSRI studies revealing that children born to mothers who had taken SSRIs during pregnancy had a greater risk of congenital birth defects such as atrial septal defect, multiple holes in the heart and persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn. The plaintiffs also allege that Pfizer knew that physicians were prescribing Zoloft to women of childbearing age but failed to adequately warn the medical community and the public of the danger.

The lawsuit asserts state law claims against Pfizer of negligence; negligence of pharmacovigilance, which requires Pfizer to monitor safety data for its drugs; strict liability; negligent design; failure to warn; and fraud. The suit seeks actual and punitive damages.

“Since the 1990s, mounting evidence has shown that SSRIs, including Zoloft, are dangerous for pregnant mothers and their developing babies,” explains Jeffrey J. Lowe of Carey Danis & Lowe. “Unfortunately, Pfizer hid that information.”

Founded in 1995, Carey Danis & Lowe has offices in Missouri and Illinois. The firm handles personal injury, pharmaceutical liability, product liability, medical malpractice, class action and commercial cases throughout the United States.

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