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Documents Show Pfizer Warned of Zoloft Birth Defect Risks


June 8, 2015 — Lawyers representing a woman who had a baby with a birth defect after taking Zoloft presented a jury with evidence that Pfizer knew about the risk but failed to provide warnings.

Pfizer Inc. is facing about 1,000 lawsuits making similar allegations. Lawyers showed the jury a document from a scientist who told executives at Pfizer about the risk and recommended label changes, according to Bloomberg Business.

Lawyers also presented a document from 1998 in which Pfizer’s own researchers found at least twelve reports describing birth defects in which Zoloft could not be ruled out as a possible cause.

Pfizer’s attorneys claimed the evidence was “cherry-picked” and denied that Zoloft increases the risk of having a baby with a heart defect.

The plaintiff, Rachel Robinson, had a baby girl in 2006 with serious heart defects. The label on Zoloft did not include any warnings about birth defects, and she says she never would have used it during pregnancy had she known about the risk.

The label now recommends that women on Zoloft should use birth control if they are of childbearing age. According to Law360, she said:

“It would’ve raised a red flag in my eyes as to why I needed to birth control with that prescription. In my head it would’ve popped up that, ‘Oh man, this could harm a baby potentially.’ I would have made sure I didn’t get pregnant.”


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