A federal court in Illinois has ordered Abbott Laboratories to produce documents it said were “long overdue” in lawsuits alleging birth injuries caused by the anti-seizure medication Depakote.
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois ordered the company to “exercise all avenues available” to produce approximately 4,000 documents related to the case “as soon as possible.” Plaintiffs had previously raised the issue of insufficient production of documents with the court.
The lawsuits were filed by mothers who claim that taking Depakote during pregnancy caused birth injuries in their children. The lawsuits claim that the children were born with conditions including heart defects, neural tube defects, spina bifida and other congenital malformations and injuries.
The plaintiffs include a woman who was prescribed the anti-seizure medication during her pregnancy and whose daughter was diagnosed with severe scoliosis that threatened her lungs and heart. In another case, a woman took Depakote before she knew she was pregnant, and her child was born with an extra digit. A third case involves a woman who took Depakote during her pregnancy, which she alleges was the cause of her son’s undescended testicle, which required surgery.
Depakote, also known as valproic acid, is used as a mood-stabilizing and anti-convulsant medication. It is often used to treat biploar disorder, epilepsy and migraine headaches. The drug is manufactured by Abbott Laboratories, a global pharmaceutical firm headquartered in North Chicago.