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Birth injuries from prescription drug use

As you probably know, taking certain medications during pregnancy can be dangerous for your unborn baby. Some medications, such as Thalamid and Accutane, are known to cause serious birth defects. But what about other medications where the effects are unknown? Who can be held responsible when medication use during pregnancy results in a birth injury? Depending on the circumstances, you may have a medical malpractice claim against multiple defendants. 

Under Louisiana law, if a prescription drug was the cause of a birth injury, you may have a claim against the treating physician who prescribed the drug, the drug manufacturer, or the pharmacist. Again, it all depends on the particular facts in your case. 

A claim for a birth injury or defect due to the pregnant mother’s use of the prescription drug is based on a theory that the defendant failed to warn the mother about the risk of taking that drug.  This theory requires you to prove a number of elements in order to succeed on your medical malpractice claim. Specifically, you must be able to prove that:

  • You actually used the drug during your pregnancy;
  • The drug had been prescribed by a health care provider, such as your physician or pharmacist;
  • The birth injury was not caused by some other factor, like genetics or disease;
  • The drug is capable of causing a birth defect; and
  • The drug actually caused the birth injury in your case.

These elements, especially the element of causation, can be very difficult to prove. One reason for this is that the effects of a medication on birth injuries depend on various factors. Such factors include how much of the drug was taken, what stage during the pregnancy the drug was taken, other medications the mother was taking, and other health conditions that mother may have. Any one or more of these factors can raise the risk of a birth injury or defect due to a prescription drug.

If you are considering filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, you may find it helpful to speak with an attorney. The attorney can evaluate your case to determine whether a prescription drug may have been the cause of the birth injury and whether you may be entitled to compensation as a result.

Source: CDC.gov, “Medication Use During Pregnancy,” Accessed June 2, 2015 

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