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Appeals Court Upholds Verdict in Birth Injury Case

On May 11, 2016, an appeals court in Pennsylvania upheld a $3 million verdict against Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. The subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson was found liable in a birth injury case filed by a mother who had taken Topamax during her pregnancy.

Parents Kelly and Brian Anderson sued the pharmaceutical company in the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia county. Their daughter was born in 2008 with a cleft lip and palate. In the case, the jury found that Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. failed to warn medical professionals of the risk of birth injuries during the first trimester of pregnancy when mothers took Topamax.

The pharmaceutical company fought the ruling in appeals court and lost again. At appeal, the company argued that they were unable to change labeling without approval from the FDA. The three-judge panel disagreed, telling the pharmaceutical giant that they could have warned medical professionals without changing the label.

In the opinion, the judges wrote, “The evidence presented at trial indicated that Janssen knew of a causal relationship between Topamax and specific birth defects, including cleft palate, but failed to disseminate the information so that Kelly’s physicians would be adequately warned.”

Kelly Anderson was prescribed the drug to treat migraines during her pregnancy. She was not aware of the dangers of taking the drug and the effects it could potentially have on her unborn child. Since her birth, the Anderson’s daughter has had more than 14 procedures to treat her condition.

If you believe that you have been harmed at the hands of a medical professional or pharmaceutical company, you may be entitled to compensation under New York law. Call our office today and let us provide you with a free case evaluation. We are here to assist you and your family.

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