Posts made in June, 2015

Abbott Ordered to Pay Damages for Depakote

Posted by on Jun 20, 2015 in Dangerous Pharmaceuticals | 0 comments

A St. Louis, Mo. Jury decided that Depakote manufacturer was liable for the birth defects of a 12-year-old plaintiff and came out with hefty damages.

Abbott via its branded drug subsidiary AbbVie lost a verdict for the first time since the risks associated with its anticonvulsant drug Depakote (valproate) became widely known. It is a dangerous precedent for the drug manufacturer, which is currently facing more than 800 Depakote lawsuits.

The plaintiff is 12-year-old Maddison Schmidt, who suffers from a number of birth-related defects including spina bifida. Her mother had been taking Depakote to counteract the symptoms of epilepsy during her pregnancy. Spina bifida is a medical condition wherein the backbone and membranes sheathing the spinal cord does not close completely. This can lead to numerous physical and neurological problems. There is no known cure.

The jury initially made the unanimous decision to award $15 million to the plaintiff for compensatory damages, and then came back 9-to-3 with another $23 million for punitive damages. As claimed in the suit, the drug company downplayed the risks of birth defects in pregnant women taking Depakote.

Abbott representatives continue to insist that the evidence showed both the physician and the child’s mother were aware of the dangers and made an informed decision 12 years ago. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only issued a warning that Depakote may adversely affect cognition development of the fetus in 2011, and birth defects in 2013. It is understandable why the jury would disregard the drug maker’s assertions in light of the fact that it has already been penalized for marketing the drug for off-label uses.

According to the website of Williams Kherkher, if you were taking Depakote during your pregnancy and your child was born with birth defects, there may be a causal link.

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