It has long been known that pregnant women must take great care with what they take into their bodies as chemicals, medications and substances found in supplements and foods can all be absorbed by the fetus through the placenta. Doctors need to be sure beyond any doubt that medications will not only be safe for mothers but also for their unborn children before recommending or prescribing any medical treatment.
Children who were exposed to toxic chemicals or medications during pregnancy may be born with developmental problems, deformities or other serious defects or conditions which require long term care and medical treatment to remedy or cope with. Drug companies and doctors must take greater precautionary measures to ensure that the unborn are not being harmed due to medications or medical care and those who profit off of the weak without any care for the consequences must be held responsible.
The Placental Wall and How a Fetus Receives Nourishment
During pregnancy, the placenta is the primary delivery system of nutrients and other minerals and materials needed for the fetus to develop into a human being. The baby is protected inside of the womb and the placental wall is a barrier that separates the child from the mother’s body in order to keep it safe but it is also the source of everything that the child requires to survive until birth. Oxygen, blood and nutrition are all delivered through this wall.
Chemicals and other toxins are also able to travel through this wall, which is why women are urged not to smoke or consume alcohol while pregnant as the toxic substances found in cigarettes and alcohol can harm the child. In addition, supplements and medications may reach and harm the fetus during its growth and cause the fetus to become malformed or result in a miscarriage. It is for this reason alone that all medications prescribed to pregnant mothers have substantial scientific evidence that proves their safety when used throughout pregnancy.
Zofran and an Epidemic of Abuse
GlaxoSmithKline developed Zofran throughout the 1980s for the treatment of nausea that is commonly associated with surgical procedures or cancer treatments. From the initial stages of development, it is believed that GlaxoSmithKline was aware that Zofran could harm the unborn and for this reason when GlaxoSmithKline received approval the market the medication for the treatment of those suffering from nausea following surgical procedures or chemotherapy and radiation treatments, it did not seek approval for the medication to be marketed as a treatment for morning sickness. Instead, doctors were assured that the medication was safe and promised incentives and kickbacks if they would prescribe the medication for off label use to pregnant women suffering severe morning sickness.
When it was later discovered that there was a definitive link between Zofran and numerous birth defects and adverse health conditions, a more thorough investigation revealed that not only did GlaxoSmithKline suspect that the medication might cause birth defects, but that it had actually conducted its own research and kept the conclusions found hidden from the public. This information motivated GlaxoSmithKline to decline any further research into the affects and risks of prescribing Zofran to pregnant women for the purpose of plausible deniability. Since the drug was deemed safe for use in cancer and post-operative patients, it was brought to market for that purpose and then prescribed off label to pregnant women for additional profit.
Injuries Linked to Zofran and Other Off Label Medications
Children born of parents who had been prescribed Zofran and other off label medications have suffered from numerous defects and health conditions. Some of the more common conditions caused by Zofran include but are not solely limited to the following.
- Cleft lip and/or cleft palate
- Conditions that are the result of a hole in the heart.
- Missing or malformed organs such as a missing kidney or the formation of both kidneys into one mass
- Respiratory conditions that result from a hole in the lungs
- Neurological disorders
- Brain damage or mental retardation caused by the defective formation of part or all of the brain. Severe cases involve entire portions of the brain that are underdeveloped or missing.
Protecting the Victims of Pharmaceutical Negligence
A Chicago Birth Injury Attorney at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC part of a leading drug recall law firm comprised of dedicated and experienced attorneys whose sole purpose is to seek justice for those who have been taken advantage of or injured because of corporate greed or recklessness. If your child was born with deformities or a severe medical condition due to the use of an off label medication, contact us now to schedule a free consultation with one of our committed attorneys to learn whether you are entitled to compensation for your child’s injuries and how best to pursue a claim. Upon completion of an investigation into your case, we will let you know what options are available to you and what you can expect if you decide to pursue a lawsuit.
Our lawyers believe that anyone should have access to quality legal services in the event they are injured, so unless we are able to secure compensation on your behalf, our services and legal advice will be completely free of charge.