There are more than 4000 types of birth defects that have been identified by medical experts. These defects represent any abnormal functioning of body part or organ, structural abnormalities or abnormalities related to metabolism that are present right from the birth. Birth defects can be caused by a number of agents and conditions, use of prescription drugs being one of them.

In United States, it is estimated that about 3% of new born babies suffer from birth defects. The defects vary and some commonly observed ones include defects related to heart, defects related to spine, defects related to brain, clefts, mental retardation, Autism, etc. Some of these defects are not much harmful and the baby can grow without  suffering too much. However, there are many birth defects that prove to be fatal to the baby. Even in cases where the new born survives, they are extensive procedures required to keep the child in good health.

Many prescription drugs that cause serious damage to fetus have been identified and many agencies are working to disseminate the necessary information to avoid unfortunate incidents. Often medical experts, research groups, civil action groups and health groups conduct studies to evaluate the risks associated with the intake of prescription drugs. Information about drugs that can be safely taken during pregnancy or drugs that are to be avoided is often distributed through journals, reports, pilot studies, etc.

Prescription drugs that have been found to harm the babies include Benzodiazepines, NSAIDS, antidepressants, anti-cancer drugs and more. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is responsible to keep a check on the drugs and information revealed by the manufacturers, often issue notices and warnings about unsafe drugs. Manufacturers are bound to follow a code and reveal all information about any side effects or harmful effects that can occur with a particular prescription drug. At times, manufacturing companies withhold crucial information or show negligence in making the public aware about possible side effects; thereby become liable for legal action and lawsuits. Compensations are often sought, yet some irreversible damage or unfortunate incident keeps haunting people for a long time.