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ARTICLE ID 192470

$________ – PRODUCT LIABILITY – FAILURE TO WARN – DEFENDANT PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY AWARE OF POTENTIAL FOR TOPAMAX TO CAUSE BIRTH DEFECTS WHEN ADMINISTERED TO PREGNANT WOMEN.

Philadelphia County, PA

Topamax, also known by its generic name topiramate, belongs to a category of drugs known as anticonvulsants. It is prescribed to treat epilepsy and prevent migraine headaches. Topamax is manufactured by Janssen Pharmaceuticals (formerly Ortho-McNeil), a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary. The plaintiffs maintained that the defendant drug company knew of the potential for Topamax to cause birth defects as early as ________ and intentionally withheld this information from the public. The defendants denied withholding information and maintained that proper warnings were issued with the drug with the information the defendant’s had at the time.

The plaintiff mother was prescribed Topamax manufactured by the defendant pharmaceutical company, for treatment of epilepsy. She took the drug from March ________ until May ________. While on the prescription, the plaintiff mother became pregnant with the minor child. The minor was born on July 7, ________, with a cleft lip and cleft palate. The plaintiffs maintained that the defendant drug company knew of the dangers of possible birth defects, specifically cleft lip and palate, and failed to warn the prescribing doctors and thereby the patients taking the drug of the risks of known defects. Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that the defendant failed to warn the prescribing doctors and thereby the patients taking the drug of the risks of known defects, and concealing safety reports of the dangers of Topamax use and birth defects.

The minor male faces the possibility of five surgeries in order to correct the facial deformities. The defense argued that instances of oral birth defects cannot necessarily be linked to Topamax as cleft lip and cleft palate are relatively common birth defects affecting approximately ________ newborns each year. In addition, the defense maintained that it provided adequate warnings with the information that they had available to them at the time.The jury found that the defendants did fail to adequately warn of the dangers of taking Topamax and awarded the minor $________ in future health care costs and $________ in pain and suffering.

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