Despite the fact that Pfizer’s own say there’s a causal link between Zoloft and birth defects, Pfizer won the Philadelphia case in which the previously hidden documents were revealed.
The jury came back with its verdict in the case of Rachel Robinson saying that the Big Pharma mega-corp has no responsibility for her 8-year old daughter’s serious heart defects. This marks Pfizer’s second win in the Zoloft series. Its first win came in April in St. Louis, MO. Though these two cases are not technically binding on current and future suits, they will most certainly impact settlement negotiations by showcasing each side’s evidentiary strengths and weaknesses as well as that of their expert testimony.
Robinson sued in 2011 on the grounds that Pfizer failed to warn her that taking the antidepressant Zoloft during pregnancy could cause serious birth defects.
The drug is a popular treatment option for depression and belongs to a class known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). The FDA issued a warning in 2006 that there might be increased risk of birth defects if the drug was taken during pregnancy. However, in 2011 after more review, the FDA changed its mind. It said that doctors shouldn’t refrain from prescribing Zoloft to pregnant women, as it was premature to say that the drug caused birth defects.
Robinson’s trial lasted a week and a half and the jury took less than a day to return its verdict.
Pfizer spokesperson Neha Wadhwa said, “While we have great sympathy for families affected by birth defects, this verdict affirms that the Zoloft label contains adequate, science-based information on the benefits and risks of the medicine.”
Tell that to the hundreds of children who will require vast amounts of medical attention, including surgery, for the rest of their lives.