Infant's skull deformation blamed on Zoloft ingestion by pregnant woman

By Jon Campisi | Oct 30, 2013

A new Zoloft products liability complaint has been filed in Philadelphia,

this one by a Texas woman who alleges her daughter was born with a skull deformation the plaintiff blames on her ingestion of the antidepressant drug manufactured by Pfizer.

Crystal Moreno, who lives in Baytown, TX, filed her civil action Oct. 29 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

It names as defendants Pfizer Inc. and one of its division’s, J.B. Roerig & Co.

In her complaint, Moreno claims that her daughter, who is now 9 years old, was born in early September 2004 with craniosynostosis, a medical condition by which the fibrous sutures in a baby’s skull prematurely fuse by turning into bone, thereby altering the skull’s growth pattern.

The lawsuit, which was filed in the Zoloft multidistrict litigation consolidated at the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, says that the plaintiff took Zoloft as prescribed by her physician while she was pregnant with the child.

Moreno says that although she took the medication during pregnancy, she did so with the belief that it would be safe for a developing fetus.

The woman claims she read the drug information and instructions that accompany the pharmaceutical, and she trusted that any serious conditions associated with Zoloft, such as congenital birth defects, would have been “included and emphasized” in the written drug information provided to her with her prescription.

“Despite the exercise of reasonable diligence in investigating the cause of the injuries, including consultations with her medical care providers, the Mother Plaintiff was not told that Zoloft could have caused the Minor Plaintiff’s injuries,” the complaint reads.

Back in July, Steve Danehy, a Pfizer spokesman, told the Pennsylvania Record that while the drugmaker has “great sympathy” for families dealing with tragedies such as injuries and deaths, “medical science does not support plaintiffs’ claims about Zoloft …”

The medications, he stated, carry “accurate, science-based and FDA-approved information on benefits and risks, including use in pregnant women, to assist physicians in making appropriate, patient-specific decisions.”

According to information found in the complaint, Zoloft, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration back in 1991, was the most prescribed antidepressant drug on the U.S. retail market back in 2005, with nearly 27 million prescriptions dispensed.

That year, the drug’s sales totaled $3.3 billion.

In her lawsuit, Moreno claims that had she been adequately warned that Zoloft could cause congenital birth defects if ingested during pregnancy, she would have refrained from taking the medication.

The medical defects suffered by her child, Moreno claims, were a direct result of the mother’s ingestion of the antidepressant during her pregnancy “in a manner and dosage recommended and prescribed by Mother Plaintiff’s doctor.”

The suit says the defendants knew or should have known that Zoloft crosses the placenta, which could have implications for a developing fetus.

As a result of the defendants’ alleged conduct, Moreno has suffered medical, nursing, hospital, pharmacy, rehabilitative and related costs and expenses relating to the treatment of her child’s injuries.

The plaintiff claims she is also entitled to lost wages and other economic losses.

The complaint contains counts of product liability, negligence, negligent design, constructive fraud, breach of warranties, gross negligence and malice, and fraud, misrepresentation and suppression.

The suit also contains a loss of consortium count.

Moreno seeks more than $75,000 in compensatory and punitive damages, in addition to costs and delay damages.

The plaintiff is being represented by attorneys J. Scott Nabers, Edward F. Blizzard and Rebecca B. King, of the Houston firm Blizzard & Nabers.

The federal case number is 2:13-cv-06303-CMR. 

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