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Topiramate Has the Potential to Cause Serious Birth Defects in Children
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According to court papers, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the maker of the drug, knew about the risk of birth defects associated with Topamax, but failed to provide adequate warning to users. An $11 million verdict has been awarded to the parents of a child born with congenital defects due to an anticonvulsant drug his mother took during pregnancy.

The jury in Powell returned a $10,955,000 verdict to Haley Powell and Michael Gurley, the parents of Brayden Gurley, on November 18, 2013 after deliberating seven hours in the Philadelphia Court. Powell’s pretrial memorandum alleged that Powell’s ingestion of the drug Topamax (which is also called Topiramate) prescribed to control her migraine headaches and also hand tremors during the first trimester of her pregnancy in 2007 and caused her son to be born with a right unilateral cleft lip. The verdict was divided into $335,000 for future health care expenses and $10,620,000 for non-economic loss. The panel ordered J&J’s Janssen unit to pay $11 million to Haley Powell, whose son was born with a cleft palate.

  
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Stanley Thompson, director of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Complex Litigation Center, said that out of the 132 Topamax mass tort cases currently underway, Powell v. Janssen Pharmaceuticals was the second to render a verdict, according to Law.com.

The plaintiffs were represented by Laura Feldman and Rosemary Pinto of Philadelphia-based Feldman & Pinto and Shelley Hutson of Clark, Love & Hutson in Houston. Overall, J&J faces more than 130 cases linking Topamax to birth defects, now consolidated in Philadelphia court.

As Bloomberg reports, it’s the second case over Topamax-related birth defects to go to trial and the second loss for J&J. Last month, a jury awarded $4 million to Virginia mother April Czimmer, who alleged that Janssen didn’t do enough to publicize Topamax’s links to cleft lip and palate. J&J has been fighting a raft of litigation related to its other products as well. Janssen says it will appeal both verdicts.

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