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Mom’s Suit Claims Son’s Birth Defects Caused by Paxil

Back in 2001, an Ohio woman gave birth to a son. He may have had all his fingers and toes, but she claims he suffered birth defects due to the fact that she had been prescribed the anti-depressant Paxil during her pregnancy.

She is now suing the drug’s maker, GlaxxoSmithKline, saying that the birth injuries her son suffered were attributable to the dangerous medication. While the suit is advancing in the courts outside of Missouri, the topic is one that we think might be of interest to readers here.

Paxil has been a widely used treatment for depression since 1992. That’s what it was approved for by the Food and Drug Administration at the time. According to the suit, however, the drug has never been approved for use by women during pregnancy. In fact, th woman says the drug’s maker knew from its own research that if taken by pregnant women, it could increase the risk of cardiac birth defects in newborns.

Still, the suit says, GlaxoSmithKline pushed the product for use in pregnant women, even claiming that it was safer for them than other similar drugs. It says it wasn’t until 2005, when third-party research showed a link to possible cardiac birth defects, that GSK began to issue warnings.

Among the formal complaints listed in the suit are several for various allegations of negligence, fraud, unfair trade practices and violation of consumer protection laws. The mother is seeking unspecified compensation for past and future losses resulting from earnings losses, general suffering and medical expenses. She also seeks an amount in unspecified punitive damages.

Source: The Pennsylvania Record, “GSK faces products liability claim by woman alleging birth defects from Paxil,” Jon Campisi, March 12, 2014