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Chicago woman claims Zoloft during pregnancy led to birth defects

Filed February 15th, 2012 Joshua Sophy

A Chicago woman has become the latest to claim taking the antidepressant Zoloft is responsible for her being born with severe congenital birth defects.

According to a report on a lawsuit filed in St. Clair County Circuit Court, Angela Rife accuses pharmaceutical giant Pfizer of failing to warn the public and federal regulators about the dangers of its selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant Zoloft posed to pregnant women and their unborn children. This lawsuit joins a spate of recent litigation filed against Pfizer and other makers of SSRI antidepressants claiming the drugs cause birth defects. Most of the lawsuits have been filed over Zoloft birth defects.

In the lawsuit, Rife claims her mother was prescribed Zoloft in the early 1990s, while she was pregnant with her. This caused her to be born with a cleft lip and cleft palate, the most commonly reported birth defects associated with the use of Zoloft during pregnancy, according to the report posted online by the local legal journal, The Madison/St. Clair Record. The plaintiff says Pfizer continues to hide evidence that taking Zoloft during pregnancy will increase the risk a baby will be born with birth defects. She said the company has acted in a “willful, wanton and outrageous manner” with no regard for the safety of the public.

Rife seeks $75,000 in actual damages and an unspecified amount of punitive damages.

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