California Mom Files Lawsuit Against Makers of Zoloft

September 18, 2014

A California mother filed a lawsuit in St. Clair county last month against Pfizer, the makers of the antidepressant drug, Zoloft, as well as Greenstone LLC and Pfizer R&D Cortex District. The lawsuit comes after the plaintiff gave birth to her daughter who was born with a life-threatening heart defect. 

According to court documents, Deana Crawford, the plaintiff, alleges that the defendants hid the risks of infants being born with defects if mother take Zoloft during pregnancy. As a result, the defendants have been accused of ” strict product liability, gross negligence, breach of express warranty, misrepresentation by omission and fraud by concealment, among other things.” 

Crawford was prescribed and took Zoloft during most of her pregnancy, which, she states, led to her daughter Tiffany’s life threatening heart defect. According to Crawford’s complaint, the defendants’ campaign on the drug was misrepresented and contained false information that was presented to healthcare providers, including information that Zoloft can be prescribed for depression during pregnancy.

This is not the first time that the defendants have been sued for false information. In fact, over 500 Zoloft lawsuits are currently pending in several states across the United States. The plaintiffs are suing after their infants were born with a series of different health issues including:

  • Heart and lung defects
  • Cranial malformations
  • Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN)
  • Anencephaly
  • Respiratory distress
  • Cleft lip/palate
  • Abdominal wall defects
  • Autism

Per court documents, Crawford is seeking over $500,00 in damages.

Unfortunately, pregnant women who suffer from depression have an extremely difficult decision to make. While there is a risk of potential harm to a baby if antidepressant drugs are taken, there is also the risk of the depression worsening if medication is not taken, which may cause depressed mothers to cause harm to themselves. Furthermore, studies suggest that uncontrolled depression may have a negative effect on unborn infants.

Along with Zoloft, doctors also prescribe Prozac to depressed, pregnant women. Both medications have been linked to the possibility of birth defects. Unfortunately, women who were taking antidepressants prior to pregnancy are generally advised to keep taking the medication so that they will not experiences sudden side effects of withdrawal. However, it’s important to note that every situation is unique and no two women will have the same exact depression symptoms and problems.

Zoloft is also prescribed for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), social anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).