October 1, 2015 — The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multi-district Litigation (JPML) meets today to decide whether to centralize lawsuits involving birth defects from the anti-nausea drug Zofran.
The cases are scheduled for oral argument during a hearing in Manhattan. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has requested centralization in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, where the company is headquartered in the United States.
With at least 33 similar lawsuits pending all over the United States, many hope the JPML will decide to centralize the litigation into one federal court, under one judge.
Meanwhile, new cases continue to be filed at a rapid pace. One recent lawsuits (PDF) was filed by Therese Trivosonno, the mother of a girl who was conceived in 1994 and exposed to Zofran beginning early in the first trimester of pregnancy.
The girl, Ann Trivosonno, was diagnosed with a septal heart defect (“hole in the heart”) when she was just two years old. She had open heart surgery at age three. Since then, she has suffered ongoing health problems, including lung damage, asthma, and chronic lung infections.
The lawsuit accuses GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) of failing to adequately warn pregnant women about the risks of taking Zofran. According to the complaint:
“Zofran would never have become the most prescribed morning sickness drug in the United States, and Plaintiff Therese Trivisonno would never have taken it, if GSK had not misleadingly marketed the drug as a safe and efficacious treatment for morning sickness.”
The lawsuit (Case No. 1:15-cv-01435) was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Ohio on July 20.