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Defective Drugs and Pregnancy

March 23, 2012
Colson Hicks Eidson

Our last blog discussed how some drug companies rush their prescription drugs onto the market as soon as possible. In the face of studies showing the risk of prescription drugs to pregnant women, researchers have asserted that the FDA and other regulatory bodies assess the risks of prescription drugs to pregnant women before allowing them onto the market.

A study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology showed that 80 percent of pregnant women in the U.S. reported taking a prescription drug or over the counter drug while pregnant. Fifty percent of the women took at least one medication during the first trimester, when the fetus is extremely vulnerable to birth defects.

For example, in March of last year, the FDA warned about the increased risk of cleft lip and cleft palate in babies whose mothers took Topamax during pregnancy. Studies showed that Topamax increased chances of the birth defect by twenty times when mothers took the drug while pregnant.

Other cases accuse drug makers of failing to disclose a drug’s known link to birth defects. GlaxoSmithKline settled a class action lawsuit that accused it of failing to disclose Paxil’s link to pulmonary hypertension in children whose mother took Paxil during pregnancy. The Plaintiffs accused the drugmaker of knowing of the harm but not telling regulators or users about it.

Do you know someone who is pregnant and taking prescription medication?