June 16, 2015 — A jury in Philadelphia has cleared Pfizer of wrongdoing in the second trial alleging that the antidepressant Zoloft causes birth defects when it is taken during pregnancy.
The Washington Post reports that the jury rejected claims that officials at Pfizer knew about the risk of birth defects but hid the risks from women and their doctors.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of 8 year-old Mia Robinson, a girl who was born with serious heart defects. Her parents were seeking at least $2.4 million in compensation for her lifelong medical expenses and more.
Attorneys for the Robinson family presented evidence that scientists at Pfizer warned the drug-maker about the potential risk of birth defects and recommended changes to the label. The label already cautions against using Zoloft during pregnancy, but does not specifically warn about the risk of birth defects.
After an 8-day trial, the jury found that the label was adequate because it carries a warning for physicians to weight the risks and benefits before prescribing it to pregnant women.
Pfizer praised the jury verdict in their favor, stating:
“Zoloft is an FDA-approved medicine for the treatment of depression and other psychiatric conditions that has been used by millions of patients, including pregnant women. There is extensive science supporting the safety and efficacy of Zoloft, and the medicine carries accurate, science-based and FDA-approved information on its benefits and risks.”
This is the second trial that has ended in a loss for plaintiffs seeking compensation for birth defects linked to Zoloft. Pfizer still faces around 1,000 other lawsuits making similar claims.