On March 21, 2016, a group of parents filed a lawsuit against Abbott Laboratories Inc., and AbbVie Inc., in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. The lawsuit alleges that the anti-seizure medication Depakote is responsible for birth defects in the plaintiffs’ children.
Mothers Took Depakote While Pregnant
p>According to the lawsuit, the mothers of the children took Depakote while pregnant. The plaintiffs claim that the risk for birth defects was higher for their children because of the medication and that medical researchers had confirmed this.
The children have reportedly suffered permanent and severe injuries, including disfigurement and physical impairment, as well as having to endure mental and physical pain and suffering. The costs for medical care, loss of earnings and future earnings, court costs and attorneys’ fees have also been incurred by the families of the allegedly affected children.
Damages Sought for Multiple Counts
The lawsuit is seeking damages for multiple counts, including negligence, product liability, breach of implied and express warranty, negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress, wanton and willful conduct and misrepresentation by fraud, omission and misrepresentation. The plaintiffs are seeking punitive damages in addition to actual damages, as well as court costs and any other damages the court feels are appropriate. The plaintiffs also want a trial by jury.
What the Food and Drug Administration Says About Depakote and Pregnant Women
Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should not use Depakote, according to the FDA, but should use an alternative treatment. Some of the possible conditions related to Depakote during pregnancy include:
- Spina bifida
- Malformed hands
- Cleft palate
- Undescended testes
- Ribs that develop dysplastic abnormalities
- Fetal death
In May 2012, the manufacturers of Depakote – Abbott Laboratories – agreed to pay $1.6 billion to settle a Justice Department investigation and many lawsuits that alleged the medication was marketed illegally as a treatment for agitated dementia and schizophrenia. The FDA had not approved Depakote for either treatment.
Holding the Manufacturer Accountable
Mothers who were prescribed Depakote while pregnant may have questions about whether the drug’s manufacturer can be held accountable for their child’s birth defect. An attorney experienced in mass tort claims can provide critical information.