Effexor and Zoloft are not in the same pharmacological class of antidepressants. Nevertheless, they share a distinction in the eyes of the law. The manufacturer of both drugs is defending itself from product liability litigation that a federal judicial panel centralized for pretrial proceedings before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
The claims of the injured are serious.
Pfizer defends itself from Zoloft lawsuits that allege that a plaintiff's child was born with birth defects as a result of the mother using the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressant, or SSRI, during pregnancy.
Pfizer is also the defendant in lawsuits involving injuries allegedly linked to the selective serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, or SNRI, Effexor. The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation wrote in an August 2013 order, "The claims regarding Effexor in this litigation parallel the claims as to the drug Zoloft."
There were 448 pending Zoloft lawsuits consolidated before Eastern Pennsylvania's federal trial court as of Jan. 15. Further, as of that date, 50 Effexor lawsuits were pending.
Summarizing some of the medical literature, the Vancouver-based agency Perinatal Services BC wrote in a May 2013 article on prenatal SSRI and SNRI exposure, "[T]here appears to be a slightly increased risk of congenital heart defects associated with their use."
Many of the injured are represented by counsel, such as the experienced attorneys at Reich & Binstock, who have a proven track record in handling litigation against major pharmaceutical corporations. This is so because attorneys with specialized skill and expertise in handling pharmaceutical injury litigation, such as Zoloft lawsuits and Effexor lawsuits, are better suited for the potential complexities these types of cases may pose.
First Zoloft, then Effexor. Women who used either antidepressant during pregnancy, unaware of the apparent increased risks, and whose child developed birth defects, may be entitled to compensation.