Introduced into the United States prescription market in 1992, Paxil is commonly used to treat major depression, panic disorder, social anxiety, post-traumatic stress syndrome, and generalized anxiety. Unfortunately, Paxil has been linked to an increased risk of suicide in young users and birth defects in the unborn.
Studies indicate Paxil and other antidepressants may be linked to an increased risk of suicidal thinking and behaviors, especially in young adults and adolescents. Although experts acknowledge that depression and other psychiatric disorders can increase the risk of suicide in all patients, lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturer of Paxil. But these are not the first cases filed.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has fought several lawsuits regarding Paxil. In fact, the company came under legal scrutiny in 1993 when litigants filed lawsuits arguing the company promoted Paxil as “non-habit forming” even though they knew that the withdrawal of the drug could cause severe symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, irritability, nausea, and fatigue. These cases were settled in 2006 for an estimated $160 million. In 2004, the FDA warned about increased risk of suicide when Paxil was taken by young adults and children. As a result of the FDA’s findings, Black Box warnings have been required on antidepressant medication labels since 2007. Birth defect litigation has also been filed against GlaxoSmithKline with most of the cases reaching their conclusion in the late 2000s.
Created in 2000 after a merger of Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham, GlaxoSmithKline is currently located in London and is one of the world’s largest drug manufacturers. GlaxoSmithKline produces some of the world’s most popular medications, including Paxil, which is used to combat a variety of mental disorders, and Zofran, which is used to eliminate symptoms of nausea in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy treatment.
In 2012, GlaxoSmithKline pled guilty to charges they had “unlawfully promoted certain prescription drugs, failed to report certain safety data, and promoted false price reporting practices.” GlaxoSmithKline paid $3 billion in criminal and civil liability fines. This payment is the largest payout ever to date by a drug company. According to the Justice Department, “The civil settlement resolves claims relating to Paxil, Wellbutrin and Avandia, as well as additional drugs, and also resolves pricing fraud allegations.”
All product manufacturers have the responsibility to manufacture and produce products which are not dangerous and are safe when used according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Manufacturers who fail in their duty to produce safe products can be held liable for injuries caused by their dangerous and defective products.
Medication lawsuits have cost GlaxoSmithKline billions of dollars. In fact, GlaxoSmithKline was recently ordered to pay a fine totaling over $3 billion for drug lawsuit cases. If you have been injured due to the illegal promotion of Paxil or if you have a child or loved one who has been injured or killed after taking Paxil, you may be eligible for compensation. If you have questions about your injuries or losses it is time to talk to a personal injury lawyer.