According to one news source, a court of appeals recently upheld a $3 million verdict against a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson after a baby was born with severe birth injuries as a result of medication taken during the mother’s pregnancy. The baby’s parents brought a claim against the company, and the jury found the company liable for failing to warn the mother’s doctors of the risk of birth injuries if she took Topamax during her first trimester.
The mother took Topamax, a drug prescribed to help prevent seizures and migraine headaches. While she was pregnant, she took the drug to treat migraines—but she did not know of the dangerous effects it could have on her baby. Research has shown that 3.8 percent of children exposed to Topamax in utero during the first trimester have oral birth defects. In particular, cleft lip and cleft palate are known risks.
The couple’s daughter was born with a bilateral cleft palate and lip. The girl has had to undergo over 14 procedures, including surgeries, to treat the birth defects. She has also suffered hearing loss, speech difficulties, and bullying because of her speech and appearance. The parents were awarded $1.5 million for future health care expenses, and their daughter was awarded $1.5 million in non-economic damages.