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GSK Files Motion To Transfer 12 Zofran Lawsuits Into MDL

A motion to transfer 12 Zofran birth defect lawsuits to the federal court in Eastern District of Pennsylvania was filed July 7 by GlaxoSmithKline.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - On July 7, a series of lawsuits filed against GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for birth defects associated with their anti-nausea medication Zofran have been named in a motion to transfer the proceedings to multidistrict litigation before the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML). The plaintiffs have filed lawsuits against GSK claiming that Zofran prescribed to them while they were pregnant to help relieve symptoms stemming from morning sickness are linked to birth defects in their children exposed to the drug. GSK has filed the motion to transfer the lawsuits into an MDL before U.S. District Judge Cynthia M. Rufe in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

A dozen cases around the country will be considered for their consolidation into multidistrict litigation. Attorneys representing families allegedly affected by birth defects related to Zofran have referenced a series of studies that conducted research linking the medication to an increased risk in birth defects in children exposed to the drug while in the womb. The birth defects included in the complaints include cleft lip, heart deformities and developmental deficiencies, among other conditions associated with a child's exposure to the drug.

Research dating back to the early 2000's has revealed possible links between Zofran and birth defects. A series of studies since then, including research conducted by Harvard, Boston University, the medical journal Pediatric Emergency Care and a large investigative report conducted by the Toronto Star, have discovered significant evidence pointing at a link between Zofran and birth defects. Armed with the information contained in these reports, lawsuits against GSK over Zofran birth defects have been picking up steam in 2015, with more expected to be filed as news of the serious consequences of Zofran's use as a morning sickness treatment spread.

Lawyers representing families around the country have filed lawsuits against GSK, claiming that the massive pharmaceutical company was aware of the risk associated with their medication Zofran and its link to birth defects and failed to adequately warn consumers. The plaintiffs have also filed claims stating that the mediation was sold for off-label purposes, as the FDA never cleared the drug for the use of treating morning sickness. The claims allege that GSK marketed the drug to physicians as such, and as a result it was prescribed to women recklessly to boost profits for the defendants.

The consolidation of nationwide lawsuits before a single judge is intended to simplify the process by which claims with similar circumstances and questions of fact make it through the legal process. Multiple steps that can be achieved as a whole, including discovery, hearings and witness testimony, expedites the litigation when cases are consolidated into an MDL.

The motion will be heard before the JPML to determine whether the defendant's request to consolidate the lawsuits will be granted. Attorney's representing the plaintiffs have not yet made a statement as to whether they support consolidation or where they would like the cases to be heard. The defense currently prefers the Eastern District of Pennsylvania where the GSK U.S. branch is headquartered. The U.S. District Judge Paul S. Diamond was named as an alternative judge to preside over the MDL is Judge Rufe is unavailable.

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Onder, Shelton, O'Leary & Peterson, LLC is a St. Louis personal injury law firm handling serious injury and death claims across the country. Its mission is the pursuit of justice, no matter how complex the case or strenuous the effort. Onder, Shelton, O'Leary & Peterson has represented clients throughout the United States in pharmaceutical and medical device litigation such as Pradaxa, Lexapro and Yasmin/Yaz, where the firm's attorneys held significant leadership roles in the litigation, as well as Actos, DePuy, Risperdal and others, and other law firms throughout the nation often seek its experience and expertise on complex litigation.