A Utah woman has filed a product liability lawsuit against drug giant Pfizer, the maker of the controversial antidepressant Effexor, amid claims that the company hid information about the dangers of the pills before she took them. That omission by Pfizer, the woman claims, has caused her child to be born with birth defects and malformations as a result of her Effexor use.
The original complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah on April 30, and lists both Pfizer and its subsidiary Wyeth as defendants in the case. The plaintiff in the case, Nikkole Wharton’s baby, was born in 2008 with a heart defect, bilateral hip dislocation, a tethered spinal cord, hip dysplasia and other side effects. Effexor has been widely criticized for its ability to cause serious birth defects in babies born to mothers who take the drug while pregnant.
The lawsuit claims that Wyeth failed to properly warn the doctors and healthcare professionals of the real risks associated with the drug’s use. The complaint also states that the defendants either knew or should have known about the dangers before putting it on the market. Wharton says that if she or her doctor knew how dangerous Effexor was, she never would have taken the pills
“Pfizer and Wyeth failed to disclose adequately the increased risk of birth defects associated with Effexor to the medical community, including Ms. Wharton’s physicians, and the Plaintiff,” according to the complaint.
“The [drug makers] were aware that their failure to disclose this information to the medical community and Plaintiffs would result in serious injury and/or death to the children or unborn fetus of women who were prescribed Effexor by a physician who was not aware of this information," the complaint continues. "By failing to disclose this information to the medical community and Plaintiffs, Pfizer and Wyeth manifested a flagrant disregard of the safety of persons who might be harmed by Effexor, and this conduct caused serious and permanent injuries to the Plaintiffs.”