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Parents Suing Pfizer Over Daughter's Birth Defects

Parents Suing Drug Company Over Daughter's Birth Defects [the Montana Standard, butte]

From Montana Standard (Butte) (October 3, 2012)

Oct. 03--The Butte parents of a baby born with a serious heart defect are suing a pharmaceutical company and others claiming the prescribed drug the mother took caused the defect.

Lisa Rooney and Wayne Halvorsen are seeking an undisclosed sum of money in a product liability and medical malpractice lawsuit filed in Butte district court Monday. The parents allege in court documents that their daughter suffered serious birth defects as a result of the mother ingesting the prescribed drug Effexor XR, an anti-depressant.

The lawsuit names Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Inc., Pfizer Inc., CVS Pharmacy, Caremark RX and Montana CVS Pharmacy as defendants. The two also are suing Butte Dr. Rindo Sironi of Continental Divide OB/GYN and Butte pharmacist Judith Schuelke.

The lawsuit alleges that the Wyeth, which manufactured Effexor XR, failed to alert doctors, pharmacists and the public on the alleged risk of birth defects on babies when mothers take the drug before and during pregnancy. Rooney also claims Sironi prescribed the drug when he knew that she was trying to get pregnant and throughout her pregnancy.

Rooney’s and Halvorsen’s daughter was born in October 2009 with a severe heart defect and required several surgeries. The child is expected to undergo further surgeries to treat her heart condition, according to the lawsuit.

Pfizer, a company out of New York, recently acquired Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and distributes Effexor. Pfizer spokesman Chris Loder told The Montana Standard Tuesday that Pfizer stands behind Effexor and believes the lawsuit is without merit.

"Effexor XR is an FDA-approved medicine which has been used by millions of patients in the treatment of depression and anxiety. There is extensive scientific research supporting its safety and efficacy, and the medicine carries accurate, FDA-approved information on its benefits and risks," Loder said.

John Grant Emeigh may be reached via email at or phone at 496-5511. Follow him at



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Posted: October 2012