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Lawsuits Grow Nationwide As MDL Decision Nears

Zofran birth defect lawsuits continue to be filed across the country as GSK prepares to argue for consolidation before the JPML on October 1.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - As the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) decision on the fate of GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) motion to transfer nationwide Zofran lawsuits into multidistrict litigation is set to come shortly after the Hearing Session scheduled for October 1, cases continue to be filed across the country claiming that the anti-nausea medication contributed to birth defects when prescribed to pregnant mothers. The allegations claim that GSK marketed the drug off-label to physicians in the interest of having them prescribe Zofran to help treat morning sickness symptoms without ever having the medication approved by the FDA for that particular use and led to an increased risk in birth defects for the children of those pregnant mothers.

Since July, lawsuits have been pouring in around the country claiming that the off-label marketing of Zofran by GSK put the children of pregnant mothers at risk of birth defects caused by the medication. The allegations claim that the pharmaceutical giant did this in the interest of driving profits for the medication, and that the research available regarding the connection between Zofran and birth defects had been available long enough for GSK to be aware of the medications dubious effect on unborn babies.

One claim brought July 17 in Massachusetts stated that the plaintiff's son was born with heart defects as a result of the mother's Zofran use during pregnancy. They claim that GSK should have been aware of Zofran birth defects research or at least gone through the FDA for approval of the medication instead of marketing the drug off-label to physicians unaware of the danger posed to pregnant mothers and their children. The lawsuits is one of four filed in Massachusetts in 2015.

Another case filed in North Dakota claims that the plaintiff's child was born without a kidney was a result of the mother's use of Zofran in the early stages of her pregnancy. The child was born in 2007, relatively recent compared to similar suits with children both throughout the 90's, and the plaintiff claims that Zofran was directly responsible for the birth defects that left the child with only one kidney that operates at less than half of its normal capacity. It took six years for the parents to identify the birth defect, and found the link between Zofran and birth defects in searching for an answer to why the kidney complications exist.

Many lawsuits are expected in the coming months as potential plaintiffs realize that their children's birth defects may have been caused by the off-label marketing of Zofran by GSK.

The motion to transfer the lawsuits to multidistrict litigation was made by the defendant GSK, likely in response to the expected number of lawsuits that will be filed against the defendant. There are already dozens of lawsuits filed against GSK nationwide that will be considered when the JPML hears arguments from GSK supporting centralization in two weeks.

GSK will request the lawsuits to be transferred to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania federal court before U.S. District Judge Cynthia M. Rufe. The decision on the potential consolidation by the JPML will come shortly after the October hearings take place in New York City.

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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.