AbbVie, which spun out of Abbott Laboratories in 2013, was recently held responsible for failing to adequately warn that their bipolar disorder drug, Depakote (valproic acid), could cause severe birth defects when taken by pregnant women.
The $15 million will be awarded to a 10-year-old boy, Stevie Gonzalez, who was born with spina bifida after his mother took Depakote while pregnant.
As a result of the Depakote-related birth defect, Gonzalez is confined to a wheelchair and has already undergone twelve surgeries. The money was awarded to Gonzalez in order to pay for past and future medical bills and care.
Though AbbVie claimed the potential side effects of Depakote were properly disclosed, the jurors in federal court in Illinois decided otherwise.
While AbbVie was held responsible for inadequately warning of Depakote’s potential for birth defects, they were not required to pay punitive damages as well. In other words, the did not think that the Plaintiffs provided clear and convincing evidence that AbbVie’s conduct concerning Depakote amounted to malice, oppression, or fraud.
At this time, there are nearly 700 similar cases pending in U.S. courts against AbbVie concerning Depakote-related birth defects.
In addition, drugs similar to Depakote–such as Depakene, Depacon, and Stavzor–have also been shown to cause birth defects when taken during pregnancy.
We will continue to monitor the medical literature as well as the legal news concerning the pending and upcoming Depakote – birth defect cases.
If you or someone you know has given birth to a child with spina bifida or other neurological birth defects after taking Depakote, Depacon, Depakene, or Stavzor while pregnant, we invite you to complete our free case evaluation.
You may also view our website for more information on Depakote / Depakene / Depacon / Stavzor.
Written by: Heather Helmendach, Legal Assistant
Law Offices of Thomas J. Lamb, P.A.
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