Depakote Lawsuit News & Updates
Depakote Lawsuit Settlement Close?
In a sign that ongoing Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) over birth defects allegedly caused by the anti-seizure medication Depakote might be nearing a settlement, counsel for both plaintiffs and defendants have requested that a US District Court in Illinois put numerous cases on hold while the parties enter negotiations. The move comes after the Court’s September 2017 denial of defendants Abbott Laboratories Inc. and AbbVie Inc.’s motion for summary judgment, which was based on the claim that a key witness could not be located.
In a separate case, AbbVie was found liable in June 2017 for the birth defects suffered by a child whose mother had taken Depakote while pregnant, and the company was ordered to pay $15 million in damages. The child suffered from spina bifida, a serious spinal malformation.
Depakote is a drug used in the treatment of seizures, bipolar disorder, and migraine headaches. It is derived from valproate, which is also used in other branded drugs such as Sanofi’s Epilim. While Depakote is FDA-approved to treat a number of conditions, Depakote also is subject to black box warnings—the FDA’s highest-level warning—for hepatotoxity (chemical-driven liver damage), pancreatitis, and fetal risk.
According to the FDA, “Valproate [Depakote] can cause major congenital malformations, particularly neural tube defects (e.g., spina bifida). In addition, valproate [Depakote] can cause decreased IQ scores following in utero exposure.” Due to this risk, the FDA recommends that “[v]alproate [Depakote] should not be administered to a woman of childbearing potential unless the drug is essential to the management of her medical condition.” In fact, the chance of birth defects caused by Depakote is so great that the FDA suggests “women should use contraception while using valproate [Depakote].”
If you were pregnant while taking Depakote or another valproate-derived medication and your child was born with birth defects such as low IQ or spina bifida, the lawyers at TheLawFirm.com have the knowledge and experience to help you and your child obtain the justice you deserve. Contact our expert attorneys now for a free consultation.
Health Plans Want RICO Case against Depakote Manufacturer Abbott Labs Reinstated
Several health plans have requested that the Seventh Circuit Court reinstate their proposed Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act class action suit against Abbott Labs over its alleged promotion of its antiseizure medication Depakote for off-label uses.
Plaintiffs in the case include the Sidney Hillman Health Center of Rochester, N.Y., the Teamsters Health Services, and Insurance Plan Local 404. They argue that such benefits plans as themselves are among the victims when drug companies encourage doctors to prescribe drugs for uses that are not recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as plans’ funds are disbursed under false pretenses.
In 2012, Abbott entered into a $1.2 billion settlement to resolve a criminal investigation and civil claims concerning the alleged marketing of Depakote for unapproved uses.
Depakote is used to treat seizure and bipolar disorders. Plaintiffs allege that Abbott pressured doctors to recommend the drug for other conditions for which cheaper and more effective drugs would have been more appropriate.
The complex case is ongoing in Illinois federal court.
If you’ve been inappropriately prescribed Depakote, and it has endangered your health, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit against Abbott Labs. If and when you do, the expert attorneys at TheLawFirm.com are standing by to help you with your case.
AbbVie Ordered to Pay $15 Million in Depakote Birth Defect Suit
The jury in an Illinois federal court has just ordered pharmaceutical giant AbbVie to pay $15 million to a boy who suffers from a serious spinal malformation as a result of his mother taking the drug Depakote when she was pregnant with him.
The court ruled that AbbVie must pay the steep fine because the company failed to adequately warn his mother and her doctors that Depakote had been linked to the birth defect spina bifida, in which the spinal column deviates into two branches. Stevie Gonzalez has endured 12 surgeries for the condition, and must use a wheelchair.
Depakote is used to treat bipolar disorder. Gonzalez’s mother took the drug for that reason while pregnant with her son. Jurors found that Depakote’s manufacturer had not properly warned her that such serious side effects could result from taking the drug.
This is the second Depakote suit that AbbVie – formerly a part of Abbott Laboratories – has lost. The first was in St. Louis in 2015, when a jury awarded $38 million to a girl with spina bifida. Approximately 700 other such Depakote suits are pending.
Abbott official knew about Depakote’s links to birth defects as long ago as 2004; in 2006, federal regulators required the company to put a pregnancy-use label warning on the drug’s product labeling. Yet Abbott failed to adequately warn doctors about the birth-defect risk involved with taking the drug.
Depakote was a major money-maker for Abbott. It was not only the company’s most profitable drug, but the first to achieve $1 billion in annual sales.
In 2012, Abbott paid a $1.6 billion to settle claims concerning the ways in which the company marketed Depakote.
If you or a loved one has fallen victim to the greed of Big Pharma, call the expert attorneys at TheLawFirm.com. We can help.