A number of Zoloft birth defect lawsuits have been filed recently across the country. The lawsuits have raised claims that Zoloft taken by pregnant mothers have caused severe birth defects, some fatal. The defects include persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPH), heart defects, lung defects, abdominal defects, cranial defects and other malformations. The lawsuits have alleged the manufacturer of Zoloft, Pfizer, intentionally covered up data for years that demonstrates Zoloft was dangerous to pregnant women and their unborn children. It is also alleged Pfizer knew of the risks from studies, did not properly study Zoloft, and did not properly publish the data which would have reflected the risk. Even today Pfizer continues to deny the dangers and has not revised its drug labeling.
In Michigan, MCLA 600.2946, amended in 1996, immunizes the Drug Manufacturer or Seller if the FDA approved the drug. There is an exception if there was intentional withholding of information to the FDA, or misrepresentation of information to the FDA by the Drug Manufacturer or Seller. Michigan’s law which effectively immunizes Drug Manufacturers/Sellers has been roundly criticized nationwide. It was passed by a Republication administration in tandem with other so-called tort reform measures which selectively targeted medical malpractice litigation. The medical malpractice “tort reform” debate continues to arise in the current Republican presidential debates. Michigan’s draconian product liability law has deprived countless individuals of their “day in court” and unjustly enriched the drug manufacturers. The law has been decried in the National media, and should be abolished.
In the meantime, even under the current law, the current Zoloft litigation may be viable in Michigan. Injured Michigan families should have the same rights to be compensated for meritorious drug product liability lawsuits as do citizens in the other 49 states.