Girl, Others Win $15M in Depakote Injury Case

     ST. LOUIS (CN) – A jury awarded a Minnesota girl $15 million due to birth defects caused by a drug taken by her mother while pregnant.
     The lawsuit claims 12-year-old Maddison Schmidt suffered numerous birth defects including spina bifida after her mother took Depakote, an anti-epileptic drug, during her pregnancy. Schmidt claimed drugmaker Abbott downplayed Depakote’s dangers and that the drug was defectively designed and inadequately tested.
     The St. Louis City jury came back with a unanimous verdict Tuesday after beginning deliberations Friday. The jury is currently deciding punitive damages.
     Schmidt is one of two dozen plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
     Depakote generated $1.5 billion in U.S. sales in 2007 before its patent expired in 2008, according to a regulatory filing by Abbott.
     In 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a safety announcement about pregnant women’s use of certain drugs, including Depakote, citing a recent study that showed the use of Depakote by pregnant women could lead to decreased IQ scores in children.
     In 2012, in a separate matter, Abbott agreed to pay $1.5 billion to settle claims that it was promoting the use of Depakote for off-label uses.

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