Since 2005, the prescription anti-depression medicine Paxil and its parent company GlaxoSmithKline have been accused on a large scale of causing serious birth defects in children born to prescribed users of the drug. Hundreds of cases have been filed between 2005 and now, as women battling all forms of depression continued to use the drug while pregnant. Paxil was approved for prescription use by the Food and Drug Administration in 1999, and by 2005 the FDA had issued warnings that the drug may cause birth defects.
In October 2009, a Philadelphia jury awarded $2.5 million to a family with a four-year old son suffering from multiple heart defects that were complications from the mother’s use of Paxil during pregnancy. The sum did not include punitive damages because the jury found that GlaxoSmithKline did not act with negligence. This verdict was the first in the nation, while more than 600 cases – and many more that are continuously adding up – are awaiting settlement. GlaxoSmithKline appealed the verdict shortly after the trial ended.
However, new studies are suggesting that the first step in eliminating any future instances of birth defects may be to quit prescribing the drug to people only suffering from mild depression. A January report in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that antidepressants like and including Paxil did very little if anything in treating cases of mild depression. A study of six drugs found that patients who scored in a range that was considered mild received no benefit in curing their depression from Paxil. However, patients who scored higher and were therefore more seriously depressed did show positive relief from symptoms when using Paxil. The study contended that mild depression is better off treated by personal interaction with professional therapists and other mental health officials.
In 2006, GlaxoSmithKline was accused by state and federal government agencies of illegal practices meant to hinder the release of any generic forms of the anti-depressant, as well as making states pay more for Paxil in health programs. The company later paid $14 million as a settlement, despite denying the claims. GlaxoSmithKline recently announced that generic forms of Paxil had hurt the company’s profits and it would instead shift focus to other drug manufacturing.
If you or a loved one has experienced serious side effects, birth defects or health complications with Paxil, contact Newsome Law Firm and fill out a case evaluation form today. Our team of attorneys has experience specific to complications associated with prescription medication. Not only can they give you the legal guidance you need, they can help you get the compensation you deserve.