The Law Office of Melinda J. Helbock, A.P.C. Provides Commentary on Two Zofran Lawsuits that Claim the Medication Resulted in Birth Defects

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San Diego personal injury lawyers of The Law Office of Melinda J. Helbock, A.P.C. provide commentary on two Zofran lawsuits that were filed in April 2015; both of which are based on allegations that Zofran use during pregnancy led to birth defects.

These lawsuits, like others filed against GlaxoSmithKline (maker of Zofran), claim the drug maker purposely concealed information linking Zofran to possible complications in developing babies.

Two Zofran lawsuits were filed in the first week of April 2015 (case number 2:15-cv-00544-JEO, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Alabama; and case number 1:15-cv-00026-SPW-CSO, U.S. District Court, District of Montana), claiming that use of the medication during pregnancy resulted in the development of birth defects. In case number 1:15-cv-00026-SPW-CSO, filed in the U.S. District Court, District of Montana on April 3, 2015, plaintiffs claim that a baby born in 1998 sustained cleft palate after her mother was prescribed Zofran for nausea in her first trimester. The lawsuit seeks compensation for alleged damages, including payment for the multiple surgeries the baby has undergone to correct the defect.

“These lawsuits, like others filed against GlaxoSmithKline (maker of Zofran), claim the drug maker purposely concealed information linking Zofran to possible complications in developing babies,” said Melinda Helbock, Founder of The Law Office of Melinda J. Helbock, A.P.C. “The outcome to these lawsuits are important as they set the precedent for future cases involving similar allegations.”

In another lawsuit filed in February with the U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts (1:15-cv-10429), plaintiffs allege Glaxo should have known that Zofran could cross the placenta barrier and pose risks to developing babies as early as the 1980s.

According to Merck Manual, when drugs reach a fetus by crossing the placenta, they can have the following affects, “they can act directly on a fetus, causing damage, abnormal development (leading to birth defects), or death; they can alter the function of the placenta…sometimes the result is a baby that is underweight and underdeveloped; they can cause the muscles of the uterus to contract forcefully, indirectly injuring the fetus by reducing its blood supply or triggering preterm labor and delivery; they can also affect the fetus indirectly.”*

Zofran (ondansetron), which belongs to class of medications known as 5-HT3 receptor antagonists, is prescribed to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by cancer patients receiving chemotherapy or radiation, and is also used to prevent nausea or vomiting after surgery. It is not approved for use by pregnant or nursing women. The plaintiffs in case number 1:15-cv-10429 accuse Glaxo of wrongfully promoting Zofran for the off-label treatment of nausea and vomiting in pregnant women, despite knowing of the potential risk for birth defects.

“Drug manufacturers have a responsibility to provide adequate testing of their products and to disclose any known health risks associated with their products,” Helbock said. “If the allegations against Glaxo are accurate and the company is found guilty of withholding information about potential Zofran birth defects, it will be our job as personal injury lawyers to hold the drug maker accountable.”

Women who were prescribed Zofran during their pregnancies and who gave birth to children with congenital defects may be entitled to file their own claims against GlaxoSmithKline. For more information, visit helbocklaw.com or call 1-800-543-8940.

The Law Office of Melinda J. Helbock, A.P.C.
The Law Office of Melinda J. Helbock, A.P.C. is a San Diego-based personal injury law firm that handles birth defect claims on behalf of babies and families that are struggling with various birth defects as a result of medications prescribed during pregnancy. Our attorneys are now investigating potential Zofran birth defect claims and can be reached at 1-800-543-8940.

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