Pfizer Inc. is facing numerous lawsuits related to birth defects caused by Zoloft . The number of Zoloft birth defect lawsuits is increasing every day. It is making difficult for Pfizer to defend the surmounting cases and has weakened the company’s defense. One such lawsuit was filed in Arkansas in December 2011. It was filed by Summerly Whitten. The lady claims she had Zoloft while she was pregnant and her daughter suffered from clubfeet as a side effect. She blames Pfizer, Inc. and the publishers of patient education monographs for failing to provide sufficient warning to the consumers about the risks of birth defects in children if Zoloft is taken during pregnancy.

Zoloft is an antidepressant drug. It has Sertraline as the main active ingredient. Zoloft is manufactured by the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. It is also used to treat other diseases such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). It belongs to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) group of drugs. Sertraline was first developed in 1970s by Pfizer. Zoloft was presented for FDA approval in 1990 and was approved for many mood and stress related disorders.

The above said lawsuit blames that the plaintiff’s daughter Shyra Julien suffered clubfeet and other congenital birth defects. She was born on January 1, 2010. When investigated, it was found out that the plaintiff; Summerly Whitten had Zoloft, while she was pregnant. Birth defects caused to her daughter have been attributed to Zoloft. The lawsuit blames Pfizer of negligence. It also included publishers of patient education monographs as a defendant in the case. The lawsuit claims that both the pharmaceutical company and publishers of patient education monographs are responsible for not providing sufficient warning regarding Zoloft birth defects.

The plaintiff is asking for punitive damages as well as compensation for past and future pain and suffering of child. Medical expenses occurred and future medical expenses are also being asked for. The lawsuit blames Pfizer Inc and publishers of patient education monographs of negligence, malice, fraud and suppression of information.

The use of the medicine Zoloft is quite risky for pregnant women as it can easily cross the placental barrier and reach to the unborn child. It could affect the development of unborn child and can cause several birth defects. Some of the Zoloft birth defects are clubfeet, limb deformations, spina bifida, cleft palate, hydrocephalus, congenital birth defects and other related conditions. There are many lawsuits filed against Pfizer, which blame that the pharmaceutical giant was aware of the birth defects, Zoloft could cause, even then it did not provide enough warning related to it to consumers. They claim the pre-approval animal studies have shown that Zoloft could induce significant harmful side effects to fetuses during pregnancy. These harmful effects also included increased mortality and cardiac malformations.

Pfizer is trying to move all the state cases in the federal court. It is asking for this on the ground that the plaintiff’s cannot blame the publisher of patient information monograph and it will be easy to tackle all the cases if they are moved to federal court. It filed a motion on January 18, 2012, for removal of Whitten’s case to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The company argues that the publishers were protected by the First Amendment and plaintiff cannot hold them liable.