Amadeusz Juskowiak

Jury finds for dow dow in birth defect case

Dow Chemical Cos DOW Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc unit said a jury found that Bendectin did not cause the birth defects of a sevenyear old boy whose mother took the drug during pregnancy

The antinausea drug has been used to treat morning sickness and was discontinued in 1983 amid allegations that the drug caused birth defects

Merrell said that to date there have been 12 other trials involving the drug 10 in the US and two in West Germany

It said verdicts or judgements in favor of the company were obtained in eight of the trials one of which included about 1150 plaintiffs

In two trials Merrell said verdicts were in favor of the plaintiffs In one it said the trial judge overruled the jurys verdict and issued a judgement in favor of the company and a three judge panel of the Court of Appeals overturned the trial judges ruling Merrell is now awaiting a rehearing of this case by the full Court of Appeals

Of the remaining two trials one ended in a mistrial and in the other the jury was unable to reach a verdict

At one point about 1700 lawsuits had been filed alleging the drug caused birth defects said a company spokesman He said about 300 lawsuits are pending

Bendectin was first introduced in the early 1950s and the Merrell spokesman said a valid application to make and market the drug is with the Food and Drug Administration should the company decide it wants to reintroduce it