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Michael Monheit
Michael Monheit
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In Zofran Lawsuit, Georgia Parents Say Nausea Drug Caused Cleft Palate

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With the beginning of initial discovery on the horizon, new Zofran birth defect lawsuits continue to join the Multi-District Litigation formed in Boston. More than 200 lawsuits, all contending that GlaxoSmithKline’s potent nausea drug Zofran causes major birth defects, have been consolidated in the US District Court for Massachusetts. Together, the lawsuits will continue through pre-trial proceedings under the guidance of federal district judge F. Dennis Saylor IV.

On April 25, 2016, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation issued yet another Conditional Transfer Order, sending a case initially filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia to join its fellows in Massachusetts. Their case, logged as number 1:16-cv-01175-SCJ in the Georgia federal court, is still pending transfer, and has yet to be assigned a new case number.

Four Cleft-Related Procedures In 12 Years, Parents Claim

In their lawsuit (PDF), parents from Norcross, Georgia say that a prescription for Zofran, begun during the first trimester of a 2003 pregnancy, caused their daughter to develop cleft palate, a birth defect in which the roof of the mouth is split by a gap or opening.

The girl, named M.C.W. in court documents, has already undergone surgery to repair the cleft, her parents allege. In the course of her 12 years, she has also participated in a sleep study, and required three myringotomies, a procedure in which surgeons cut into the eardrum to relieve fluid pressure, according to the suit. She is expected to undergo further treatments in the future, say her parents, and now lives with a “dysmorphic appearance of the mandible.”

All of these claimed traumas are the result of her prenatal exposure to Zofran, the family writes, noting a 2012 study in which Harvard public health researchers found that mothers who took Zofran during early pregnancy were more than twice as likely to deliver babies with cleft palate. The complaint also references three large European studies, in which prenatal exposure to Zofran was linked to increased risks for congenital heart defects.

Like hundreds of parents before them, Plaintiffs accuse GlaxoSmithKline of concealing this scientific research from the public and health care professionals, while allegedly promoting its drug for unapproved use as a morning sickness treatment.

The attorneys at Monheit Law continue to offer free consultations to parents and birth defect survivors interested in learning more about the ongoing Zofran litigation. For more information on case eligibility, call (877) 620-8411.

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