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Two New Zofran Lawsuits Filed In Illinois And North Dakota

The new claims filed against GlaxoSmithKline bring similar allegations of birth defects caused by the company’s Zofran medication that resulted the defendant filing a motion to transfer the lawsuits into multidistrict litigation in July.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015 - A pair of new Zofran birth defect lawsuits have been filed recently, increasing the more than a dozen claims that have already been filed against pharmaceutical manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in recent months concerning their anti-nausea medication. The two claims, which were filed in North Dakota and Illinois, allege that birth defects discovered in their children were a direct result of the two mothers' use of Zofran during their pregnancy.

The first lawsuit, filed in Illinois on July 21, claimed that the prescription of Zofran given to the mother to combat morning sickness symptoms resulted in her son contracting a congenital heart defect. The plaintiff claims that GSK promoted the use of Zofran to doctors for the purpose of combating morning sickness for pregnant mothers, even though the drug was never approved for his use by the FDA.

This kind of off-label marketing was claimed to have been reckless and put the patients in harm's way without prior warning or having gone through the proper testing. The plaintiff claims that GSK should have been aware or run tests to determine the safety of using Zofran for the treatment of morning sickness before advising doctor to prescribe the drug for that use.

The second claim, filed in North Dakota, alleges that the birth defects discovered in a child born in 2007 that seriously affected the infants kidney development and operation was caused by the mother's use of Zofran during pregnancy. This plaintiff also allege that GSK was or should have been aware of the risks associated with Zofran and instead promoted the drug off-label in the interest of generating a profit off the medication normally employed to help staunch nausea for chemotherapy patients.

Both cases reference the misuse of off-label marketing tactics used by GSK, which were at the heart of a 2012 $3 billion settlement the British company agreed to with the Department of Justice. In that lawsuit, many of the claims against GSK revolved around the company's use of off-label marketing to prescribe drugs without the FDA's approval. This process circumnavigated many safety regulations put in place to protect patients and resulted in a number of serious complications such as the ones described in the Zofran birth defect allegations.

Zofran birth defect research conducted by Harvard, Boston University, and a number of medical journals including An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatric Emergency Care and the New England Journal of Medicine have all demonstrated significant links between Zofran and birth defects when prescribed to pregnant mothers. Plaintiffs claim that studies such as these should have been conducted before the medication was marketed off-label to treat morning sickness.

GSK requested in July for all the pending Zofran lawsuits against the company to be consolidated into multidistrict litigation. The motion to transfer, filed before the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, was filed by the defendants in an attempt to help streamline the processes of discovery, lawsuit filings and a number of other procedural steps that may benefit from having all the lawsuits consolidated before a single federal judge. More Zofran lawsuits are expected to be filed in the coming months as news of the allegations and the possibility of multidistrict litigation spreads throughout the country.

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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.