A Pennsylvania jury has awarded $3 million to a couple who alleged their child’s birth defects were caused by in vitro exposure to Janssen Pharmaceutical Inc.’s anti-seizure drug Topamax. Janssen is a division of Johnson & Johnson.
The Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas 12-person jury reached the verdict on March 7, awarding $1.5 million for non-economic losses and $1.5 million for future medical expenses.
Kelly Anderson and her husband Brian sued Janssen, alleging that their son Payton, now 5, was born with a cleft lip and palate linked to the mother’s use of Topamax during the first trimester of her 2007 pregnancy. The Andersons accused Janssen of failing to inform expectant mothers of the drug’s risks of birth defects, including cleft palate and cleft lip, despite the fact that animal studies revealed such defects. They further alleged that Janssen knew of the risks of birth defects associated with the drug for about ten years before revising the warning label in 2011.
Anderson’s neurologist, Dr. Veronica Sosa, prescribed the drug to treat her migraine headaches. Anderson said that her obstetrician told her that Topamax was safe to take during pregnancy.
Janssen, however, asserted that Anderson’s decision to continuing taking Topamax while pregnant would not have been affected by an enhanced warning because she relied on the advice of her obstetrician and needed the drug for migraine relief. The drug maker further argued that Anderson’s neurologist was aware of Topamax’s potential risks and told Anderson to stop taking the drug during pregnancy.
So far, three other Topamax cases have gone to trial in Philadelphia and the three that have resulted in awards for the plaintiffs ended up in the multi-million dollar range.
For more information, contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).