This article is written by Peters and Associates.
Most of us have heard the lengthy side-effect disclosures on commercials for prescription drugs and see references to lawsuits over such prescriptions. But many people who may have a case just don’t know where to start.
Eventually, if enough people are similarly injured, lawsuits can result in a class-action, in which one or a few people represent a larger group of people known as “the class.” Class-action lawsuits most often are brought against companies in situations where the class of people affected are too numerous for each person to bring an action individually.
Many class-action lawsuits are publicized and seek people who may need representation. If you are a person who needs representation during a class-action lawsuit, you have to consult a lawyer before being considered a member of the class.
But class-action lawsuits sometimes take time to develop, and the development of such lawsuits is very much part of our life at Peters and Associates. In fact, I personally have been affected by such a lawsuit: My name is James, I’m one of the attorneys at Peters and Associates, and this week’s Ask An Attorney is my own question and story.
When the pediatric cardiologist told me and my wife five years ago that our newborn daughter suffered from atrial septal defect, the last question on my mind was whom to blame. But it wasn’t long before we learned the drug my wife was prescribed for morning sickness during her first trimester, Zofran, likely was the culprit.
In 1991, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Zofran to help cancer patients with nausea. It initially was prescribed to treat people who were vomiting as a side effect of chemotherapy or who became nauseated after taking post-operative medications to help with pain or other complications. Soon, Zofran was marketed to pregnant women suffering from morning sickness, but the FDA never approved the drug for pregnant women. There have been thousands of birth defects caused by Zofran, including heart defects, cleft lips and cleft palates. In 2012, drug maker GlaxoSmithKline was ordered to pay $3 billion in criminal and civil penalties, making it the largest combined federal and state health care fraud recovery in a single global resolution in the history of the United States.
These types of injuries occur every day. It is up to us to stop more innocent children from being harmed and to help those who already have been harmed. If you or a loved one believe your child’s birth defect may have been caused by the mother taking Zofran during the first trimester of pregnancy, feel free to reach out to me. My family has been affected too, and I’d be happy to talk over your options.
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Please note: The information in this column is intended for general purposes only and is not to be considered legal or professional advice of any kind. You should seek advice that is specific to your problem before taking or refraining from any action and should not rely on the information in this column.