Earlier this month, a federal jury in Illinois ordered AbbVie Inc., manufacturer of the drug Depakote, to pay $15 million to the family of a 10-year-old California boy born with spina bifida.
The mother was prescribed Depakote for the treatment of bipolar depression during her pregnancy. The Depakote lawsuit alleged that AbbVie failed to adequately warn the boy’s mother and her doctors about the risk of birth defects from taking Depakote during pregnancy.
The plaintiff’s council alleged that AbbVie parent company Abbott Laboratories never warned doctors that the overall risk of birth defects from Depakote use is 10.7 percent. The plaintiff’s council also noted that Abbott was aware in 2004 that the risk of birth defects was much higher than what was printed on the warning label.
The verdict provides compensation for the boy’s past and current medical bills along with the cost of future care. The boy is confined to a wheelchair and has had 12 surgeries to treat his condition.
The family’s attorney requested punitive damages for AbbVie’s mishandling of Depakote but the request was denied.
The company has not yet announced if it plans to appeal the verdict.
If your child was born with a birth defect and you were prescribed Depakote during your pregnancy, you may be entitled to compensation for current and future medical bills and other damages.
Contact our experienced Boston defective drug lawyers for a free legal consultation. We have a successful track record of recovering fair compensation in personal injury cases.
Other Depakote Lawsuits and Verdicts
This is the second time a jury has ruled against AbbVie in a Depakote lawsuit. The last time was in 2015, when a St. Louis jury awarded $38 million in the case of a girl who was diagnosed with spina bifida. The verdict included $23 million in punitive damages.
Another Depakote case was settled in 2016 but this occurred before trial and the amount of the settlement was not made public.
AbbVie won three other federal court trials concerning Depakote birth defects. In these cases, juries found the drug’s label allowed physicians to make informed decisions regarding the benefits of treatment with Depakote and adequately disclosed birth defect risks.
There are nearly 700 pending Depakote lawsuits in courts across the country. The next Depakote birth defects trial is scheduled to be heard in July, with another scheduled in September.
Birth Defects Linked to Depakote
Many of the Depakote cases have concerned babies born with spina bifida, but Depakote has been linked to other birth defects, including:
- Heart defects
- Malformed genitals
- Cleft palate
- Deformities of arteries
- Abnormal development of arms and legs
Our Boston Drug Injury Lawyers Are Available to Assist You
Depakote has been tied to many birth defects in children born to women prescribed the drug during pregnancy. If your baby was born with a birth defect, it may be linked to your treatment with Depakote.
Schedule a free legal consultation with our team to find out if you have a viable case. If you have a case and decide to move forward, we will work on contingency, meaning you do not owe us a fee unless we recover compensation.