Written by: Heather Helmendach, Legal Assistant
Law Offices of Thomas J. Lamb, P.A.
Recently, the drug manufacturers of Depakote (valproate) and its derivatives have come under legal fire for failing to warn about the possible side effects of the drug, and blatantly concealing warnings in order to increase their profits.
In the United States, AbbVie Inc. (formerly Abbott Laboratories) manufactures Depakote, Depakine, and Depacon. In Europe, however, the drug is called Depakine and is manufactured by Sanofi.
Depakote is used to treat seizures and bipolar disorder. When used by pregnant women, it has the potential to harm their unborn children by causing still births, slowed neurological development, and congenital birth defects.
From the article on Reuters.com, "Sanofi will accept epilepsy drug blame if court rules that way," we learn the following information about Depakote:
Evidence grew toward the end of the 20th century that the drug could cause deformities in unborn children, but it was not until 2014 that the European Medicines Agency decreed it should be prescribed only when other treatments had failed, and only with accompanying evidence that patients had been informed of the risks during pregnancy.
Given that Sanofi apparently chose to protect their profits--rather than the health and safety of those who need their drugs--many children and families have suffered needlessly. However, Sanofi declared in October of 2016 that they will accept responsibility for their actions. At the present time, measures to determine proper compensation for victims is taking place in France.
We hope to see AbbVie Inc. / Abbott Laboratories follow in Sanofi's footsteps and accept the blame for their actions, then work towards compensating those who have been negatively affected by Depakote.
Presently, lawsuits are also being filed against Abbott Laboratories for failing to provide accurate information to doctors concerning the use of Depakote. It has been determined that like Sanofi, Abbott Labs intentionally withheld important warning information pertaining to the dangers of Depakote in the name of protecting its profits.
The article "Mo. Appeals Court Upholds $38 Million Depakote Birth Defect Verdict" (paid subscription required) provides these details:
A Missouri appeals court has upheld a $38 million verdict issued in favor of a girl who was born with spina bifida and other birth defects after being exposed to Depakote in utero, finding the evidence supported the jury’s finding that Abbott Laboratories failed to adequately warn doctors that the drug had an increased risk of birth defects versus its competitors and was significantly more dangerous for use in women of childbearing age.
We will continue to monitor the medical literature for more information on arising lawsuits against Sanofi and AbbVie.
In the meantime, you may learn more about Depakote and its possible side effects on our website.
Drug Injury Watch: Side Effects News & Reports
Drug Injury Law: Medical & Legal Information