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Family sues pharmaceutical company for the alleged birth defects


Posted on Oct 04, 2012

Lisa Rooney ingested anti-depressant, Effexor XR, throughout her pregnancy. Effexor XR is approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) as an anti-depressant medication. Wyeth Pharmaceuticals manufactures Effexor XR. Pfizer, a New York-based company, recently acquired Wyeth. Pfizer is a distributor of the medication.

Rooney claims that her physician knew that she was pregnant and continued to prescribe her Effexor XR. On October 2009, Rooney gave birth to a baby girl. Rooney discovered that her baby was born with a severe heart defect. As a result, the baby underwent several surgeries. According to Rooney and her husband, Wayne Halvorsen, however, their baby will continue to undergo more surgeries in order to treat the heart condition.

Rooney and Halvorsen filed a lawsuit at a district court in Butte, Montana, against “Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Inc., Pfizer Inc., CVS Pharmacy, Caremark RX and Montana CVS Pharmacy.” Rooney and Halvorsen claim that by ingesting the prescribed medication, Effexor XR, while Rooney was pregnant, it caused their baby to develop birth defects, such as the heart condition. In the lawsuit, Rooney and Halvorsen assert that Wyeth “failed to alert doctors, pharmacists and the public on the alleged risk of birth defects on babies when mothers take the drug before and during pregnancy.”

Rooney and Halvorsen also filed a lawsuit against the physician who prescribed Rooney the medication and against a local pharmacist. Rooney claims that her physician knew she was trying to get pregnant. Rooney also argues that the physician knew when Rooney became pregnant. The physician, nonetheless, continued to prescribe her Effexor XR.

In response to the lawsuit, a Pfizer spokesman claims that the lawsuit is without merit. The article mentions that numerous scientific research report that Effexor XR is safe and effective.

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Gerry Oginski
NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer