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Montana parents say drug company responsible for birth defects

Doctors, pharmaceutical companies and other parties subject to medical malpractice and product liability claims often have extensive legal resources to fight the allegations. Meanwhile, the people who suffer as a result of doctor errors and defective products have to rely on their own resources to get through a trying time. The hope for the plaintiff is that the responsible parties are held accountable and that enough compensation is awarded to cover the damages caused by the defendants' negligence.

These issues are at the core of a recent product liability and medical malpractice lawsuit filed by two Butte parents whose daughter suffers from a heart defect. The parents say that a pharmaceutical company and other defendants are responsible.

Bozeman residents may have heard of the anti-depressant Effexor XR. This is the drug that was prescribed to the mother before and during her pregnancy. The parents say that the drug manufacturer failed to notify pharmacists, doctors and the public about the risk of birth defects infants face when their mothers are prescribed Effexor XR.

Named in the lawsuit are a Butte doctor and a Butte pharmacist, along with Pfizer Inc., Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Inc., Caremark RX, CVS Pharmacy and Montana CVS Pharmacy.

A Pfizer spokesperson countered the couple's claims by saying that the drug in question is FDA-approved and has been used by millions of other patients.

Still, other anti-depressants have been linked to birth defects, and this couple clearly intends to show that Effexor XR can cause birth defects as well. The parents' daughter, who was born in 2009, has already gone through several surgeries and will likely have to undergo more. If the family's lawsuit is successful, the settlement could go a long way in paying for that much-needed medical treatment.

Source: Billings Gazette, "Butte parents suing drug company over daughter's birth defects," John Grant Emeigh, Oct. 3, 2012

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