San Diego, CA (PRWEB) January 29, 2014
Resource4thePeople announced today that its national network of attorneys will continue to offer free consultations in 2014 to consumers who are seeking compensation over claims contained in lawsuits* alleging that birth defects have been caused by the use of Zoloft and other known as SSRIs.
These claims are contained in the court files of hundreds of federal lawsuits from across the country alleging women who used selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as Zoloft before or during their pregnancies gave birth to infants suffering serious health defects.
Many of these cases* have been consolidated before a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
"We are also announcing that we will continue to provide consumers with updates involving this litigation in which the judge is now presiding over pre-trial evidence-gathering involving lawsuits against the manufacturers of Zoloft and other SSRIs," said Resource4thePeople.
The announcement of the continuation of the no-cost consultations was made after numerous inquiries were received from consumers about whether Resource4thePeople's national network of attorneys would, after 2013, continue to offer them in connection with SSRI birth defect allegations.
“The increase in the number of consumers inquiring about issues raised in the SSRI federal multidistrict litigation and other lawsuits demonstrates that many consumers are seeking experienced, aggressive legal help,” said Resource4thePeople.
Resource4thePeople said that eligible consumers will be provided information about legal options to seek compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering and other costs in connection with expenses incurred in connection with the allegations.
"However, each case is different and there may be legal time limits involved and consumers are advised to contact us as soon as possible in order to preserve all of their legal options," said Resource4thePeople.
The SSRI lawsuits that have been assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Cynthia Rufe in Pennsylvania include allegations of at least one life-threatening birth defect. Here is a detailed list of some of the defects that have been identified in the federal lawsuits now consolidated before Judge Rufe:
- Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, also identified as PPHN. This is perhaps the most serious of the defects because it affects the lungs and heart and has about a 10 percent fatality rate.
- Clubfoot, or deformed feet. This is a condition in which an infant’s feet twist inward or face downward.
- Atrial septal or ventrical septal defects in which infants are born with holes in their hearts.
- Craniosynostosis, which is a cranial deformity in the fetus which can cause serious problems, including seizures after birth.
- Omphalocele, which is a condition in which an infant’s internal organs may form outside of the body.
- Other birth defects, including Tetralogy of Fallot, spina bifida, transposition of the arteries and heart murmurs.
“These are the most common birth defects identified in these allegations but there are many other that have been alleged to have been caused by the use of Zoloft and other antidepressants in these lawsuits,” said Resource4thePeople.
SSRI anti-depressants are sold under various brand and generic drug names such as Zoloft, Prozac, Paxil, Lexapro, Celexa and Depakote and are described by The National Institute of Mental Health as the most popular antidepressants prescribed in the United States.**
"The latest figures provided by federal court officials show that the number of lawsuits alleging that Zoloft and other SSRIs are linked to birth defects in cases in which mothers used the medications before or during pregnancy continues to increase," said Resource4thePeople.
“If any family has a child who suffers from any of these conditions we urge them to contact our national network of attorneys as soon as possible for a consultation about the merits of their case and their rights to seek compensation for health issues that may have been caused by the use of these antidepressants before or during a pregnancy.”
Judge Rufe has selected 25 cases from these consolidated lawsuits to serve as bellwether trials in which lawyers for the plaintiffs and those for the defense can test the strengths and weaknesses of their cases, according to the court file.
The first such bellwether trial*** is scheduled for October of 2014 and the attorneys are now in the process of pre-trial evidence gathering and other legal actions.
Judge Rufe is also overseeing a parallel multidistrict litigation**** involving claims that another antidepressant known as an SNRI, Effexor, also may cause birth defects in infants born to women who took the medication shortly before or during pregnancies.
The latest figures**** as of Nov. 18, 20013 show that there are now 46 Effexor cases before Judge Rufe.
The latest warning questioning the effectiveness and addressing side effects involving SSRIs was published Aug. 19, 2013 in The New York Times***** in an article by a physician who laments the lack of progress in developing effective, safe antidepressants.
"This is just the latest of the concerns raised about the effectiveness and safety of SSRIs, which are a class of medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors," said Resource4thePeople.
"As the physician points out, whether or not these medications such as Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac and Lexapro are providing safe, effective treatment for depression is open to debate."
Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn is among several birth defect issues linked to SSRIs raised by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in a 2006 Public Health Advisory.******
*In Re: Zoloft (Sertraline Hydrochloride) Products Liability Litigation - MDL 2342, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
**NIMH, 2008; http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/mental-health-medications/index.shtml
**** MDL - 2458 IN RE: Effexor (Venlafaxine Hydrochloride) Products Liability Litigation
******FDA, December 14, 2011; http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/DrugSafetyInformationforHeathcareProfessionals/PublicHealthAdvisories/ucm124348.htm