San Diego, CA (PRWEB) March 06, 2014
Resource4thePeople announced today announced its latest update for consumers who are following litigation* alleging that birth defects have been caused by the use of Zoloft and other antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
Hundreds of such federal lawsuits from across the country have been grouped together* alleging women who used SSRIs such as Zoloft before or during their pregnancies gave birth to infants suffering serious health defects.
"Among the most recent important developments is the scheduling by the judge overseeing these cases of the first trial in this multidistrict litigation," said Resource4thePeople.
"The court file shows that U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe has decided that the first bellwether trial from this pool of Zoloft lawsuits will be held on Nov. 3, 2014. We are encouraged that a jury will finally be able to hear evidence and render a judgment in this litigation."
Resource4thePeople also announced that as this litigation progresses its national network of lawyers will continue to offer free consultations to consumers who are seeking legal options to seek compensation in connection with these allegations of birth defects.
"The first bellwether trial is several months away and there is still time for consumers who may have been affected by the allegations against Zoloft and other SSRIs to file their own claims," 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.**
In another development, statistics*** compiled by federal court officials show that there were 475 Zoloft lawsuits under Judge Rufe's supervision in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Those figures were provided by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation for the last reporting period ending Feb. 19, 2014.
“The fact that we are receiving an increase in the number of consumer inquiries about issues raised in the SSRI federal multidistrict litigation and other lawsuits tells us that many consumers are seeking experienced, aggressive legal help,” said Resource4thePeople.
Eligible consumers will be provided information in these complimentary consultations about legal options to seek compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering and other costs in connection with the allegations, said Resource4thePeople.
"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 assigned to Judge Rufe 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 these federal lawsuits:
- 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.
“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 the 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.
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 Feb. 19, 2014 show that there are now 52 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," 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