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Jury Awards $38 Million in Depakote Birth Defect Lawsuit


June 3, 2015 — A girl who was born with spina bifida and other birth defects after being exposed to Depakote has been awarded $38 million by a jury in Missouri, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The 12 year-old girl, Maddison Schmidt, was awarded compensatory damages of $15 million for pain and suffering, medical expenses, permanent disability, and more. She was also awarded punitive damages of $23 million after the jury found Abbott Laboratories negligent for failing to adequately warn her mother about the risk of birth defects.

The drug-maker says it plans to appeal the jury’s decision.

Approximately 800 lawsuits involving Depakote have been filed against Abbott. Schmidt was one of two dozen plaintiffs named in the lawsuit.

Depakote is now a “Pregnancy Category X” medication, meaning the FDA believes its risks outweigh any possible benefit. In 2013, the agency issued a Safety Communication to warn that it should not be used to prevent migraine headaches during pregnancy.

Abbott has also already paid a $1.5 billion settlement after the Justice Department accused them of illegally marketing Depakote “off-label” for adults with schizophrenia and dementia from 1998-2006.

The lawsuit is Schmidt v. Abbott, CA No. 1222-CC-0247901, Missouri Circuit Court (St. Louis).

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