July 25, 2013 — A mother from Utah has filed a lawsuit alleging that her use of the antidepressant medication Effexor (venlafaxine) during pregnancy caused her child to be born with heart defects and other birth defects. The Effexor birth defect lawsuit was filed by Charity Block on July 1 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah.

Block alleges that Wyeth Pharmaceuticals (now owned by Pfizer), the manufacturer of Effexor and Effexor XR, sold the drug without proper warnings about the danger of birth defects. She maintains that the companies knew or should have known about the risk, but withheld this risk information from pregnant women and their doctors.

According to the complaint (PDF) , Block alleges that Effexor is:

“Defective, dangerous to human health, unfit and unsuitable to be marketed an sold in commerce, and lacked proper warnings as to the dangers associated with its use.”

Block took Effexor during pregnancy and had a child on November 30, 2009. Her child had significant birth defects, including:

  • Heart defects
  • Ventricular septal defect (VSD)
  • Patent foramen ovale (PFO)
  • Central diaphragmatic hernia
  • Hypoplastic lungs
  • Omphalocele
  • And more

In recent years, a growing number of Effexor birth defect lawsuits have been filed in courts throughout the U.S. There are at least 14 lawsuits pending throughout the country. Plaintiffs’ lawyers are now arguing for federal judges to establish a centralized Multi-District Litigation (MDL) in the same court where hundreds of Zoloft birth defect lawsuits are now pending