A Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge is upholding a November 2013 Topamax verdict against Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals according to The Legal Intelligencer. Janssen requested a new trial shortly after the $11 million verdict.
The money was awarded to Haley Powell and Michael Gurley. Haley took the anti-epileptic drug for more than a year before becoming pregnant. One of Powell’s attorneys said Janssen knew about the serious side effects associated with the drug but did not inform doctors or patients about the risks. Their son, Brayden Gurley, was born with a severe cleft lip and continues to seek treatment with specialists.
76 Topamax Cases Settled
Janssen Pharmaceuticals settled 76 Topamax cases in Philadelphia according to an order filed in April 2014. There are still 59 cases pending.
Topamax was approved by the FDA in 1997 to treat epilepsy, migraines, and promote weight loss. The FDA reported in 2011 that data showed there was an increased risk in cleft palate or cleft lip to infants born to women who were taking the drug.
That same year Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced updated warning labels on Topamax informing doctors and patients of the possible risk to unborn babies.
The oral cleft condition happens early on in a pregnancy, before some women even realize they are pregnant.
Cleft Lip, Cleft Palate Diagnosis & Treatment
A cleft palate is diagnosed when the tissue on the roof of the mouth, or “palate” is split or has an opening. A cleft lip is a space or gap in the lip where it should be connected.
An infant can be born with one or both conditions. One in 700 babies is diagnosed every year with cleft lip, with or without cleft palate. Boys are twice as likely to be born with the defect.
If a doctor prescribes Topamax for your current condition, make sure he or she informs you of all of the risks and benefits. If you are thinking about becoming pregnant make sure you are aware of the risks to your unborn baby.
If you took Topamax during your pregnancy and your child has a birth defect such as cleft lip, cleft palate, or both , you should contact a Topamax attorney today for a free consultation. You and your child should be compensated for any injuries incurred through the use of this drug.
Exclusively focused on representing plaintiffs, especially in mass tort litigation, Eric Chaffin prides himself on providing unsurpassed professional legal services in pursuit of the specific goals of his clients and their families. Both his work and his cases have been featured in the national press, including on ABC’s Good Morning America.