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Another Victory for Plaintiffs in the Case against Topamax

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Alton, ILA jury trial in Philadelphia has delivered yet another blow to the manufacturers of Topamax, and ordered Janssen Pharmaceuticals to pay $3 million in damages to Kelly and Brian Anderson and their child, who was born five years ago with a bilateral cleft palate and lip.

Attorney Andy Williams, from Simmons Browder Gianaris Angelides & Barnerd LLC, a national litigation firm with expertise in the area of defective drugs, successfully argued that Janssen had failed to include appropriate warnings labels regarding the risk of birth injuries.

Janssen has now lost three out of three failure-to-warn litigation cases relating to birth defects linked to the use of Topamax during pregnancy. The first two cases resulted in awards totaling $14.2 million. Although the Anderson award is the lowest so far, it is nonetheless damning.

“The jury was out for three and a half days,” says Williams. “That tells you there was some debate going on, but in the end they believed what Kelly Anderson told them. We talked to jurors after so we know what they were thinking.”

Kelly Anderson was prescribed Topamax for migraine headaches during her pregnancy in 2007. Although four doctors at the trial all said they warned her about the potential problems, Anderson said she was given no such information.

The Anderson’s daughter, now age five, has had 14 procedures to repair the damage, including four surgeries.

“The case had some contradictory elements in terms of what warning Kelly Anderson had, and that may account for the slightly lower amount of damages. However, in terms of injury, the Anderson baby injury is a bilateral cleft and more difficult to repair. She will have more surgeries ahead,” says Williams.

Topamax, also known as topiramate, was developed as an anticonvulsant drug for epilepsy and is also widely prescribed as a prevention for migraine headaches.

There have been a number of studies that show a definite link between the use of Topamax during pregnancy and the risk of having a baby born with a cleft palate or cleft lip. In March 2011, the FDA reported that new drug registry data indicated that the risk of “oral birth defects” was 16 times higher in babies born to women who used Topamax or a generic equivalent.

“The outcome is not about the money,” the Anderson family said in a statement. “It’s about a jury giving us justice for us and our child. We hope this will help make sure no other children have to live with the injuries our daughter has endured.”

There are more than 130 Topamax cases pending against Janssen. The company has said it will appeal the first two verdicts.

Andy S. Williams is a pharmaceutical injury attorney with the Simmons Firm. He has worked with thousands of people injured by Darvon/Darvocet, the blood thinner Pradaxa, and the drug finasteride found in Propecia and Proscar. Williams has also represented women who used SSRIs during pregnancies that resulted in birth defects.


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Posted by

Hi, I was skimming the site when I came upon the topamax verdict. Are there any other issues associated with topamax other than birth defects?

Posted by

EVERYONE knows that a developing child is more suseptible to chemical interactions while in the womb. At some points in the pregnancy the pill that the mother swallows is larger than the developing "child to be"
did the mother take the time to read the documentation that comes with the drug?
inform yourselves people, stop taking all these chemicals that have side effects worse than what you have right now


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