June 8, 2015 — Lawyers presented a jury with documents that show scientists warned executives at Pfizer about a possible link between Zoloft and birth defects and recommended changes to the medication’s label.
Attorneys for a woman who took Zoloft during pregnancy and had a baby with a birth defect have told a jury in Philadelphia that the company knew about the risk but failed to provide adequate warnings.
Lawyers presented a report from 1998 in which researchers at Pfizer found more than a dozen side effect reports about birth defects and they could not rule out Zoloft as a possible cause, according to Bloomberg Business.
Attorneys for Pfizer accuse plaintiffs’ attorneys of “cherry-picking” data from the company’s review of adverse event reports.
The lawsuit was filed by Rachel Robinson, the mother of an 8 year-old girl who was born in 2006 with serious heart defects. She says she would have stopped taking Zoloft if she had known about the risk to her unborn child.
Pfizer recommended that women of childbearing age should use birth control while taking Zoloft, but did not specifically warn about the risk of birth defects. Robinson told Law360:
“It would’ve raised a red flag in my eyes as to why I needed to birth control with that prescription. In my head it would’ve popped up that, ‘Oh man, this could harm a baby potentially.’ I would have made sure I didn’t get pregnant.”