$3M verdict upheld in birth injury lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson
An appeals court upheld a $3 million verdict against Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, for serious birth injuries that were caused by the mother’s ingestion of Topamax while she was pregnant. As reported in PRNewswire, the daughter of Kelly and Brian Anderson was born in 2008 with bilateral cleft palate and lip.
In the trial that took place in 2014, the jury determined that the drug maker was responsible for neglecting to admonish the mother’s physicians about the rise in the risk of birth injuries when Topamax is ingested during the first trimester.
The Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed the decision of the jury in the case of Anderson, et al vs. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. on May 11th, and ruled that Janssen neglected to make an effort to warn physicians of the risks regarding Topamax. During the appeal, Janssen contended that it should not be held liable for failure to warn because it could not modify the drug’s pregnancy warning using the label without the consent of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In so doing, Janssen said it would be in violation of federal law, which preempts state law.
However, the panel, which consisted of three judges, declined to accept that argument, and claimed that because Janssen is a well-known drug manufacturer, it had a duty to warn physicians, and the labelling was a different matter. According to the judges’ opinion, Janssen was aware that Topamax caused certain birth defects, such as cleft palate, and yet, failed to share that information with Mrs. Anderson’s doctors so that they would be sufficiently warned.
During her pregnancy, Mrs. Anderson took Topamax in 2007 and 2008 to relieve migraine headaches. She was uninformed about the potential hazards to her unborn child. As a result of the birth injury, the child has had to undergo over 14 procedures, including many surgeries. In addition, she has suffered loss of hearing, difficulties with her speech, and has endured bullying due to her speech and appearance.
If your child suffered a birth injury due to the failure to warn on the part of the manufacturer of a drug you took while you were pregnant, call the birth injury attorneys at Chalik & Chalik Law Offices.