Notorious Drug Scandals Linked to Pregnancy and Birth Defects

In recent years, drug abuse has become a significant concern for pregnant women. There are many reasons for this, but one of the biggest is that drugs can cause birth defects. Drug abuse during pregnancy can lead to serious health problems in both the mother and child, even death. Some drugs have been linked to birth defects as well as death during or shortly after childbirth.

Here’s what you need to know about some of the most notorious drugs linked with pregnancy and birth defects:


According to the National Library of Medicine, Thalidomide was used widely in the 1950s and 1960s for nausea treatment in pregnant women. During the late 1960s, it became apparent that the drug’s treatment resulted in severe birth defects in thousands of children. Thalidomide is a drug that causes birth defects in the developing fetus.

Thalidomide lawsuits were filed by parents who gave birth to children with serious health problems after taking thalidomide while pregnant. Some children died from complications related to their birth defects. Others had mental retardation or paralysis throughout their lives because they lacked limbs or suffered brain damage due to thalidomide use during pregnancy.


Tylenol is a brand name for acetaminophen, an over-the-counter pain reliever that can cause birth defects if taken during pregnancy. Tylenol has been linked to autism and ADHD in children whose mothers took the drug while pregnant with them.

According to LegalScoops, millions of doses of Tylenol are taken every day in the U.S., with some estimates stating that almost 25% of all adults use some form of acetaminophen weekly. In fact, Acetaminophen has long been marketed as the only safe prenatal antipyretic and pain reliever. This marketing was effective as studies show that at least 50% of women in the U.S. used acetaminophen-based medications during pregnancy.

The Tylenol Autism lawsuit is still ongoing, and many affected families have filed lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson (its manufacturer ) and major retailers claiming they were unaware of the risks associated with taking acetaminophen while pregnant.

If your child suffers from Autism or ADHD and you have taken the drug during pregnancy, consider filing a Tylenol Autism lawsuit today.


Zofran, approved by the FDA in 1991, is an anti-nausea drug used to treat cancer chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. It can cause birth defects when taken during pregnancy. In addition to birth defects, Zofran has been linked to withdrawal symptoms in newborns whose mothers took Zofran during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

According to Reuters,  the plaintiffs have claimed that GSK promoted the drug as a treatment for morning sickness without adequate warning of its risks. The lawyers contend that Japanese animal studies GSK had withheld from the FDA would justify a change on the drug’s warning label. These studies indicate the adverse effects of the drug on the fetus.


Bendectin was a prescription medication used to treat nausea and vomiting in pregnant women. It was withdrawn from the market in 1983 after receiving several lawsuits alleging that it caused birth defects such as limb reduction defects, heart malformations, spina bifida, and neural tube defects (NTDs).

The drug’s manufacturer Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals claimed that Bendectin was safe when taken during pregnancy, but there was no scientific evidence to support this claim at the time of its withdrawal from sale.

Diethylstilbestrol (DES)

DES is a synthetic estrogen prescribed to pregnant women from the 1940s to the 1970s. It was used to prevent miscarriage, premature birth, and other complications of pregnancy.

It’s been linked with an increased risk of reproductive tract problems such as infertility and cervical cancer. It might also be associated with vaginal clear cell adenocarcinoma, a rare form of cervical cancer that develops when cells in the vagina become abnormal and grow uncontrollably.

Clomiphene citrate (Clomid)

Clomiphene citrate is a drug used to treat infertility in women. It’s also commonly prescribed for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition that causes irregular periods and excess hair growth on the face, chest, and back.

In rare cases, clomiphene can cause birth defects or miscarriage when taken during pregnancy.

According to WebMD,  researchers found that women who took clomiphene had a 300% higher chance of having babies born with serious birth defects. The drug’s side effects on the fetus include missing limbs or organs, cleft palate, clubfoot deformity, heart problems, facial abnormalities like underdeveloped eyes or ears, and hearing loss.

Accutane (isotretinoin)

Accutane (isotretinoin) is a powerful drug that is used to treat severe acne when other treatments do not work.

It’s also known as Roaccutane in Europe, where the European Medicines Agency approved it in 2009. In the United States, Accutane was first approved by the FDA in 1982 and remains on the market today.

The drug has many side effects, some of which can be serious or even life-threatening if left untreated and can cause birth defects in babies exposed during pregnancy or breastfeeding.


The bottom line is that there are many factors to consider when deciding whether or not to use drugs during pregnancy. The best advice is to talk with your doctor about all of your options, including their potential risks and rewards.

If you decide to take medication during pregnancy, ensure it’s only after careful consideration and consultation with your healthcare provider.

Similar Posts