Pfizer faces Zoloft products liability claim by Pa. couple

By Jon Campisi | Oct 5, 2012

A Pennsylvania couple alleges in a products liability case that Pfizer’s drug Zoloft, taken

by the mother during pregnancy, caused their child to be delivered with birth abnormalities four years ago.

Philadelphia attorney Gregory S. Spizer, of the firm Anapol Schwartz, filed the civil action Oct. 4 at the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia on behalf of Downingtown, Pa. residents Amanda and Barry Ebright.

The couple is suing on behalf of their minor child, who was allegedly injured by Amanda’s ingestion of the antidepressant drug Zoloft while she was pregnant with the now-4-year-old girl.

The defendants in the lawsuit are Pfizer Inc. and its subsidiary, Greenstone LLC.

The complaint states that Amanda Ebright was prescribed and did ingest Zoloft during the term of her pregnancy.

The drug, the lawsuit claims, is “defective, dangerous to human health, unfit and unsuitable to be marketed and sold in commerce and lacks proper warnings as to the dangers associated with its use.”

The central allegation is that the drug is to blame for the plaintiffs’ child’s birth defects, namely, a ventricular septal defect.

The child has since undergone multiple treatments, including, but not limited to, screenings, testing and medications.

The lawsuit also claims the child may require surgery sometime in the future.

Prior to Amanda Ebright becoming pregnant, the defendants knew or should have known that taking Zoloft during pregnancy posed risks to the developing fetus, the complaint states, since the drug crosses the placenta, which is crucial to the unborn child.

The lawsuit claims that the drug companies took no action to adequately warn people like Amanda Ebright of the risks associated with the drug during pregnancy, and instead “concealed, suppressed, and failed to disclose the dangers.”

“Defendants had access to this information and knew that Zoloft caused congenital birth defects and knew that prescribing physicians and the consumers, such as Amanda Ebright, did not fully understand the risks associated with Zoloft exposure,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit contains counts of strict product liability, negligence, negligent design, negligent misrepresentation, fraud and fraudulent concealment, and breach of implied and express warranties.

The plaintiffs seek damages relating to economic loss, medical expenses, loss of earnings, mental and emotional distress, costs and litigation expenses, attorney’s fees, pre-and-post-judgment interest and treble and/or punitive damages.


The federal case number is 2:12-cv-05678-CMR. 

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