According to Abbott Laboratories, a leading drug-manufacturing company, its mission is to improve the health of people worldwide. Unfortunately, big companies like Abbott are not exempt from challenges over credibility and consumer safety.
Headquartered in a northern Chicago suburb, Abbott is facing challenges due to product liability lawsuits over a drug that has been linked to birth defects. A federal lawsuit was recently filed against the company in U.S. District Court for Southern Illinois by three dozen minors over Depakote, an anti-epilepsy medication. The plaintiffs claim they sustained injuries because their mothers ingested the drug while pregnant.
They allege that Depakote -- also known as Depakene, Depacon and Depakote ER -- is defective and hazardous to unborn children and their health later in life. The lawsuit asserts that Abbott should have known of the drug's dangers and failed to warn consumers about potential damage including spina bifida, heart defects and neural tube defects.
The plaintiffs have pointed out that valproic acid, the primary substance in Depakote, has been shown to cause birth defects if ingested in the first trimester of pregnancy.
The plaintiffs are seeking an undisclosed amount of compensation for their injuries, loss of future income and emotional damage.
The plaintiffs are all Illinois residents but have been joined by attorneys representing clients in other states.
Drug manufacturers like Abbott must meet certain standards before they can release pharmaceutical products to the market. Responsibilities include warning of potential side effects and performing appropriate tests under standards set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Drug manufacturers who fail to meet their responsibilities can be held accountable for injuries or complications that result from dangerous drugs. Victims who suffer injuries as a result of a defective drug may be eligible for compensation to address their hospitalization, pain and suffering.
Source: Madison St. Clair Record, "Three dozen plaintiffs file another suit over Depakote; Cases mounting in So. District of Illinois," Bethany Krajelis, May 2, 2013