More than two dozen parents have from across the country are suing Abbott Laboratories in St. Clair County claiming the anti-epileptic drug Depakote caused birth defects in their children.

Attorneys Christopher Cueto and Michael Gras of Belleville, Robert L. Salim, of Natchitoches, LA, Jeffrey D. Meyer, Ralph D. McBride, Douglas A. Daniels, Kathleen B. Jennings and Tommy Fibich, all of Houston, TX, William M. Audet and Adel A. Nadji, of San Francisco, CA, are representing members of the class.

According to the complaint filed Dec. 15, Abbott Laboratories began marketing Depakote as an effective anti-epileptic drug in the United States in the 1970s. However, the primary element in Depakote, valproic acid, has allegedly been known to cause significant birth defects if taken during the first trimester of pregnancy.

The suit claims Abbott has continued to market Depakote to doctors and patients, while trying to downplay those risks, and has yet to put those warnings on the drug's label.

Abbott is accused of creating a defective product and of fraudulently concealing the potential dangers of the drug. The plaintiffs ask for an unspecified amount of money in damages along with attorney fees.

St. Clair County Circuit Court Case No. 10-L-651

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