Acetaminophen Pregnancy Lawsuit | Risk of Autism in Children
A group of plaintiffs have filed lawsuits claiming that mother’s who took acetaminophen products while pregnant have a higher risk of a child born with autism. At present, there are over 19 lawsuits, and the plaintiffs have filed a request with the federal court to consolidate the cases into multi district litigation. The number of cases against makers and sellers of these drugs is expected to grow in the future. If you took acetaminophen products when pregnant, and your child was born with autism, you should contact an experienced attorney to explore whether you may be eligible for financial compensation.
When mothers take products like Tylenol during pregnancy, the active ingredient does not just pass through their body after having the desired health results. The acetaminophen will pass to the baby through the umbilical cord. When the baby is born, they will have the substances in their own bloodstream because they receive it from the mother. Any type of harmful substance that the mother ingests during pregnancy, including alcohol, can harm the baby.
Update- September 17, 2022 – “The JPML will hear oral arguments on September 29, 2022 in St Louis on the motion to consolidate the acetaminophen causes autism lawsuits into an MDL. (an mdl is not a aclass action) The motion to consolidate was objected to by the defendants. Nobody knows the venue of a possible MDL. The plaintiffs desire the MDL to be in the Northern District of California. The manufacturer want the lawsuits in New Jersey Federal Court.”
6/10/2022- “Walmart was sued in federal court in Seattle this week for selling acetaminophen to a Snohomish woman, who claims her regular use of the medication during separate pregnancies in 2009 and 2011 caused lifelong neurological disorders in her children. The latest: Tiffany Rutledge, the plaintiff, claims her children — identified only by their initials, C.R. and L.R. — both suffer from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as a result.” Axios
Numerous Research Studies Have Documented a Link Between Acetaminophen and Autism
There have been numerous studies that have shown a correlation between higher rates of autism and ADHD and mothers who took acetaminophen while pregnant.
- The JAMA Psychiatry Journal studied a cohort of nearly 1,000 mothers and found that babies that had the highest level of acetaminophen in their blood also had the highest risk of ADHD and autism. (This study was funded by the NIH).
- The European Journal of Epidemiology quantified the additional risk that children who were exposed to Tylenol faced. The study found that children whose mothers took Tylenol during pregnancy had a 19% higher chance of having autism spectrum disorders and a 21% higher chance of having ADHD
- Another study in JAMA Pediatrics found that children who were born with acetaminophen in their blood were twice as likely to have autism spectrum disorder
There have been many more studies that have suggested a possible link between acetaminophen and autism. However, there have also been some findings that small amounts of acetaminophen do not raise the risk of autism.
Manufacturers and Stores Have Allegedly Known About the Connection for Years
The lawsuits have claimed that manufacturers and sellers have known about the weight of the scientific evidence for years and have ignored it, continuing to sell their products without a warning to pregnant women that acetaminophen can harm the baby. The lawsuits also alleged that retailers and manufacturers knew of the dangers and concealed them by failing to report them to the FDA. Drug manufacturers have a legal obligation to report any information that they learn about their products to the federal government
In the wake of the mounting research that acetaminophen can cause developmental disorders in children, doctors are now reevaluating whether pregnant women should take pain medication during the course of their pregnancy. Previously, doctors did not hesitate to prescribe pain medication, but now they are thinking twice because it may not be safe for the baby.
These Lawsuits Are Forecast to Grow in Numbers
While there are only a small number of lawsuits, this litigation has the potential to become one of the largest mass tort cases in history. One in 44 children in the United States is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. In other words, there are millions of children with autism, and many of their mothers took acetaminophen when they were pregnant.
There are many factors that may cause autism. Some cases could be genetic, but a large number of children who have been diagnosed with autism have ingested or been exposed to some kind of substance. For example, there was a large lawsuit against makers of antidepressant drugs, alleging that children born to mothers who were taking the medication during pregnancy developed autism because of it.
There have been numerous lawsuits that have alleged that certain toxins have caused autism. For example, baby food makers are now dealing with a large case that alleges that metallic substances in their product caused children to develop autism.
Not only are parents suing the companies that made the drugs, but they are also filing cases against the stores where they bought them, such as CVS and Walgreens. In product liability law, the concept is that you can sue anyone who was involved in the stream of commerce, including the store. It is up to the manufacturer and the store to fight about who pays what.
Plaintiffs Await a Ruling on Multi-district Litigation
The plaintiffs have filed the motion for multi-district litigation to make it easier to gather evidence in their case. If the court grants the motion, the cases would proceed together through the discovery process and develop one common set of facts. Then, each case would have a separate trial. It is possible that some plaintiffs could win their case, while others may lose.
Analysts and attorneys expect that the number of these cases will grow significantly over the coming months. If the motion for multi-district litigation is granted, it may prompt scores of additional lawsuits.
Damages in Autism Lawsuits
If the plaintiffs win their case, they may be entitled to significant financial compensation. The damages associated with autism can be significant. You may be entitled to the following forms of financial compensation:
- Medical expenses for all the child’s care
- Special education expenses if they cannot function in the general school setting
- Pain and suffering for the ordeal that a child with autism goes through in life
- Lost wages if the child would not be able to work, or if the parents need to take work time off to care for the child
- Emotional distress from having to live a life with a disability
These lawsuits are still very early in their pendency. If you have taken acetaminophen when pregnant, and your child was born with autism or ADHD, you should speak with an attorney to learn more about your legal rights. We expect much more to happen with these lawsuits in the near future. The more attention is focused on these lawsuits, the more we expect thousands of additional plaintiffs to come forward. Also, if you suffered harm from Camp Lejeune toxic water, contact us.