Following a $3 billion settlement with the United States Justice Department in 2012 for marketing dangerous medications off label without warning doctors and patients of the risks and doing so by providing financial compensation to doctors for doing so, GlaxoSmithKline is at the heart of a serious debate regarding medical ethics. One of the medications cited in the settlement is Zofran; used in the treatment of nausea due to chemotherapy and radiation treatment as well as for post-operative sickness. Since discovering a link between this medication and birth defects in children born to mothers prescribed Zofran for morning sickness, the first lawsuits have now surfaced against the pharmaceutical giant, which still asserts that there is no evidence to substantiate the allegations being made by the plaintiffs.
Child Born with Numerous Deformities
The US District Court of Birmingham is currently hearing a case filed by a woman who alleges that Zofran is responsible for numerous birth defects in her eight year old son. Julie Hunter was prescribed Zofran during her first trimester and her son was born with multiple deformities including extra digits on his hands, a distended kidney, high narrow palate, glaucoma and developmental and neurological disorders. At eight years of age, her son Talon is unable to speak, experiences seizures and is a special education student who has fallen far behind his peers in his educational development.
The conditions and disorders that plague Talon will require treatment for the rest of his life and Julie Hunter is seeking compensatory and punitive damages in the case, citing GlaxoSmithKline’s alleged knowledge that Zofran use was linked to numerous birth defects.
Mother Alleges Zofran Caused Birth Defects in Two Children
A mother of two children born with congenital heart defects has filed a lawsuit on February 12, 2015 in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The Minnesotan asserts that she was prescribed Zofran for the treatment of morning sickness during both pregnancies and both her children were born prematurely and with heart defects. Her daughter, born in 2004 underwent surgery in 2011 to repair a hole in her heart that had been present since birth. Her defect has been accompanied by severe developmental delays and her physical development has fallen behind that of children in her age group.
The woman’s second daughter, born in 2006, was also diagnosed with a congenital heart defect after being born prematurely. Her congenital heart defect was so severe that she had great difficulties breathing and required constant monitoring of her blood-oxygen levels. Like her sister, the defect has also affected her physical development. Both children are ranked in the lowest five percent of children in their respective age groups for growth and development.
Child Born with Cleft Palate to Mother Who Used Zofran
A Montana couple filed a lawsuit on April 3, 2015 asserting that Zofran is to blame for their daughter’s cleft palate. Their daughter was born in 1998 and immediately diagnosed with cleft palate and cleft lip and since her birth she has needed to undergo ten surgeries. The condition does not run in the couple’s family, suggesting that the cause was not genetic.
The victim has undergone immense physical and emotional trauma while growing up with these conditions and her parents allege that she has fallen behind in school and her social development as a result. Children with cleft lip are often ostracized due to their appearance, making them more prone to psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety, which can also impact learning and development when experienced throughout childhood.
GlaxoSmithKline Denies Links to Defects Despite Evidence to the Contrary
GlaxoSmithKline has been adamant in its position that there is no verifiable proof linking Zofran use to the defects cited in the numerous lawsuits being brought against the pharmaceutical giant. Evidence has surfaced, however, that not only suggests that GlaxoSmithKline was aware of the risks associated with prescribing Zofran to pregnant women, but that the medication was pushed regardless of knowledge to that effect. The $3 billion settlement GlaxoSmithKline agreed to with the US Justice Department back in 2012 does not paint the company in the right, either, and opens the door for countless lawsuits in the future as parents of children born with severe defects and medical conditions begin to come forward.
If you were prescribed Zofran during your pregnancy and your child was born with defects or serious medical conditions, contact the Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers to learn more about pending litigation being filed against GlaxoSmithKline and how it affects you and your legal options. Our reputable team of attorneys will be happy to investigate your case risk free and help you determine whether you have a case. If it is in your best interests to pursue a claim, we will fight hard to ensure that your family is compensated fairly for all you have suffered and endured so that your child will have access to the care and treatment he or she deserves and that you can afford to provide that care.
If for any reason we cannot collect damages on your behalf, our services will come at no charge.