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$23 Million Verdict Awarded in First Depakote Birth Defects Lawsuit

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St. Louis, MOA $23 million settlement has been awarded to a Minnesota girl ending a lawsuit against Abbott Laboratories in which the girl’s family alleged the epilepsy drug Depakote caused the girl’s birth defects. This is the first verdict against Abbott, the maker of Depakote.

The jury hearing the case of Maddison Schmidt handed down the verdict finding that the girl’s family deserved $15 million in compensatory damages for defects associated with the mother’s use of Depakote during pregnancy. Twelve-year old Maddison suffers from spina bifida.

Abbott is currently facing some 800 Depakote lawsuits, all basically alleging the drug company hid the association between the ant-seizure medication and birth defects.

Depakote (also known as valproate semisodium or divalproex sodium) is a popular drug used to treat epilepsy and manic episodes of bipolar disorder. Unfortunately, there are many Depakote side effects associated with the anti-convulsant, such as spina bifida, that have resulted in Depakote lawsuits, including a class action lawsuit in the UK. The Food and Drug Administration classified Depakote into pregnancy category D due to its likelihood of causing serious and potentially life-threatening birth defects.

In 2012, Abbott paid $1.6 billion to settle federal and state claims resulting from a probe of the company’s Depakote marketing practices. Abbott marketed the drug, approved for epilepsy, bipolar mania and migraine prevention, for unapproved uses such as dementia, Bloomberg reported.

The case is Schmidt v. Abbott, CA No. 1222-CC-0247901, Missouri Circuit Court (St. Louis).

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