Summary Judgment was granted in favor of drug maker Pfizer in over 300 Zoloft birth defect claims on Tuesday April 5, 2016. This effectively ends the MDL which was consolidated in 2012.
Plaintiffs in the MDL alleged that the use of Zoloft during pregnancy resulted in birth defects including heart defects and that Pfizer knew Zoloft caused birth defects, but failed to adequately warn physicians and patients. Previously, hundreds of non-cardiac birth defect cases were dismissed cutting the case count almost in half.
U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania who presides over the MDL disqualified numerous experts over the last four years prior to granting Summary Judgment. She found that the Plaintiffs evidence was not strong enough to establish a causal link between use of Zoloft and birth defects, but showed only an “association’ between Zoloft and birth defects. She did state that the “final scientific verdict as to whether Zoloft can cause birth defects may not be delivered for many years”, but that is of little solace to the plaintiffs whose claims have been dismissed.