Informed - keeping our clients informed

Free & Goss Attorneys

The content of this site should not be considered legal advice, and not all content has been written by an attorney. The articles covered by our Informed blog involve issues related to pending cases and potential litigation that lawyers may be evaluating or investigating.

Jury awards $3 Million for Topamax Injuries

[ Tuesday, March 11, 2014 ]

PHILADELPHIA — After a month-long trial led by attorneys Tim Goss and David Matthews, a 12 person jury awarded a 5-year-old girl $3 million for severe cleft lip and cleft palate injuries caused by Johnson & Johnson’s anti-seizure medication Topamax.   The manufacturer of the drug, Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen, argued  that Topamax does not cause birth defects, but if it caused the injuries to Kelly Anderson’s daughter, the comapany claimed that it had warned Mrs. Anderson that Topamax could cause birth defects.   This argument was flatly rejected by members of the jury, one of whom stated after the trial that if a company sees signs that a drug is causing birth defects, it needs to let doctors know.

Topamax was prescribed to Kelly Anderson for migraine prevention.  All drugs have a pregnancy risk category which doctors use for prescribing medicines.  Although there were multiple red flags that Topamax caused birth defects in humans, Janssen did nothing to change the risk category; as a consequence, doctors continued to prescribe the medication to women of child bearing years.

Janssen made over $2 billion annually on Topamax, and lawyers for the Anderson family argued that profit was the motivation for the lack of a label change.  The jury agreed.