GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturer of Zofran, recently submitted a motion
asking for consolidation of all Zofran lawsuits claiming birth defects
into a multi-district litigation. The motion requested Pennsylvania as
the consolidation venue, likely due to the fact the Philadelphia Navy
Yard is where GSK’s headquarters are located.
MDL consolidation contributes to a more efficient process for the disposition
of multiple cases with similar facts. Motions and pre-trial discovery
in an MDL is shared, therefore more coordinated, and discovery already
completed in some cases can be used in others. MDLs also offers consistency,
in that the important decisions are made by a single judge who either
is already an expert on the facts and the relevant laws associated with
the issue or will be soon.
GlaxcoSmithKline Asks for MDL Consolidation Despite Potential Risks
Some defendants resist having lawsuits against them consolidated into an
MDL because the publicity of an MDL can—and probably will—attract
other plaintiffs. The more lawsuits faced by a defendant, the greater
the exposure and the more pressure the manufacturer may feel to settle
the claims. Despite the potential risks multi-district litigation offers
to GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturer apparently feels the benefits outweigh
Allegations against GlaxoSmithKline
Thus far, there have only been twelve Zofran lawsuits filed, with each
complaint containing similar allegations—namely that GSK failed
to warn women of the risks Zofran posed to unborn children. The complaints
also allege GSK improperly marketed Zofran for off-label use as a treatment
for severe morning sickness. Zofran gained FDA approval only for use in
patients who suffered from the nausea associated with chemotherapy, radiation
and other surgical procedures.
Most of the Zofran lawsuits filed as of July 7, 2015, involve congenital
heart defects which required one or more surgeries to repair. One of the
lawsuits involves a miscarriage resulting from in utero exposure to Zofran.
Studies have linked Zofran to birth defects such as cleft lip, cleft palate,
atrial septal defect and ventricular septal defect (hole in the heart).
Will GSK’s Motion for Consolidation Be Granted?
Lawsuits have been filed in the following states: Minnesota, Massachusetts,
Montana, Louisiana, Ohio, Arkansas, Texas and California. For those who
filed their lawsuit in state court, the case may be removed to federal
court, then transferred to the MDL. It is widely speculated among those
involved in the Zofran birth defect cases the motion to consolidate will
Plaintiffs in the Zofran cases will likely cited studies which found a
significantly increased risk of cardiac septal defects in babies whose
mothers took Zofran during the first trimester of their pregnancy. One
study performed at Harvard University definitively linked Zofran to cleft
lip and cleft palate birth defects.
Off-Label Use of Zofran
While doctors are legally allowed to prescribe drugs off-label (for a condition
not approved by the FDA), GSK actively promoted Zofran for use in pregnant
women who suffer from morning sickness. GSK conducted only one Zofran
study regarding the risks of birth defects which involved fewer than 200
pregnant women. Despite this, the company continued to promote the drug
for morning sickness, and allegedly paid kickbacks to doctors who prescribed
the drug for that purpose.
In 2012 GSK paid the U.S. Department of Justice $3 billion for misleading
advertising which touted Zofran as a treatment for the nausea associated
with pregnancy. Parents of babies born with birth defects can face months,
years or even a lifetime of medical expenses. If Zofran was responsible
for your baby’s birth defect, a knowledgeable personal injury attorney
can seek justice on your behalf.
Contact Our National Dangerous Drug Lawyers
If you took Zofran during pregnancy and your baby was born with a congenital
defect, it is important to speak one of the experienced national dangerous
drug attorneys at Golomb & Honik immediately. Our lawyers can answer
all your questions regarding the current Zofran litigation and determine
if you are eligible to file a lawsuit against the manufacturers of Zofran.
To learn more about your legal options or to schedule a free consultation call the
Philadelphia class action lawyers at Golomb & Honik today at
1-800-355-3300 or 1-215-985-9177 or fill out our confidential
The national dangerous drug lawyers at Golomb & Honik have successfully
represented individuals in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and
throughout the United States.