Order of Birth Defects Bellwether Trials Set for Zoloft MDL

The judge overseeing the Zoloft multidistrict litigation has set the order for the forthcoming bellwether trials.  The first trial, which will be held in federal court, is expected to begin in January of 2016.  Zoloft is an antidepressant medication.  This Zoloft MDL consists of female plaintiffs who claim that using the drug while pregnant led to the formation of birth defects in their children.  Pfizer is the manufacturer of Zoloft and the company has been named as the defendant in each of these Zoloft lawsuits.  The order that the judge issued lays out the first five individual claims that will be heard when the process begins next year.

About Zoloft

Zoloft has been widely prescribed to patients who suffer from symptoms of panic disorder and depression.  It was originally approved for use in the United States by the FDA in 1991.  Zoloft is a member of a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.  Zoloft was marketed as a safe medication as compared to other drugs that were on the market at the time of its approval.  That message proved to be effective, as Zoloft eventually became one of the most prescribed medications in the United States.  At its height, tens of millions of prescriptions for Zoloft were written annually, generating more than $2.5 billion in revenue during 2006 alone.

About Zoloft Lawsuits

Unfortunately, reports of Zoloft side effects eventually began to arise.  Many of these allegations came from women who had used Zoloft while pregnant and whose children were born with birth defects.  Many of these alleged Zoloft birth defects were extremely serious.  Examples of some of the problems encountered include:

  • Holes in the heart – There were two specific types of holes in the heart allegedly caused by Zoloft, including ventricular septal defects (VSD) and atrial septal defects (ASD).
  • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome – When the left side of the heart does not develop properly in the womb, the child is born with this extremely dangerous birth defect.
  • Tetralogy of fallot (TOF) – TOF is a condition that leads to dangerously low levels of oxygen being present in a person’s bloodstream.
  • Coarctation of the aorta – This condition describes a situation where part of the aorta is too narrow.  The aorta is the major artery that carries blood away from the heart and into the bloodstream.

Given the number of Zoloft lawsuits filed, they were consolidated into what is known as a multidistrict litigation, or MDL.  These bellwether trials are a select few individual claims that are heard first.  They are ordered so that the other parties involved can gauge how evidence will be received and how successful arguments may be when they are made at trial.  They can also prompt settlement negotiations.

If you or someone you love has suffered in this manner, you need to contact the Zoloft birth defects lawyers at Parilman & Associates today to schedule a free initial consultation.  You can either email the firm or call 800-800-DRUG.