GlaxoSmithKline Plc must pay $2.5 million over claims that its Paxil antidepressant
caused birth defects, a Pennsylvania jury concluded in the first of 600
such cases to come to trial
in state court in Philadelphia deliberated about seven hours over two days
before finding Glaxo failed to properly warn doctors and pregnant users
of Paxil’s risk. The panel awarded $2.5 million in compensatory damages
to the family of Lyam Kilker. The 3-year-old was born with heart defects
his mother blamed on the drug. “The first win is always huge, especially
when you get a jury saying the drug caused the injury,” Sean Tracey,
the family’s lawyer, said in an interview after the verdict.
It’s the first time a jury has considered claims that Glaxo, the U.K.’s
largest drugmaker, knew Paxil caused birth defects and hid the risk to increase
profits. The drug, approved for U.S. use in 1992, generated about $942 million
in sales last year, or 2.1 percent of Glaxo’s total revenue.
company disagrees with the verdict and will appeal, Kevin Colgan, a spokesman,
said in an e-mailed statement.
we sympathize with Lyam Kilker and his family, the scientific evidence does
not establish that exposure to Paxil during pregnancy caused his condition,”
Colgan said. Glaxo’s
provision for legal and other nontax disputes as of June 30 was 1.7 billion
pounds ($2.8 billion), it said in a July 22 regulatory filing that didn’t
mention the Paxil litigation. “I don’t think the link is proven,
so there will likely be collective settlements which will keep costs low,”
Navid Malik, an analyst at Matrix Corporate Capital in London with a buy
rating on the stock, said in an e-mail. “If this was a threat to GSK,
the first verdict might have been 100 times greater.”
Glaxo American depositary receipts, each representing two ordinary shares,
fell 9 cents to $39.69 at 4:02 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite
trading, after dropping as much as 1.4 percent when the verdict was announced.
Glaxo dropped 14 pence, or 1.1 percent, to 1,246.5 pence in London.
the Kilker case, jurors found 10-2 that Glaxo officials “negligently
failed to warn” the doctor treating Lyam’s mother about Paxil’s
risks and concluded the medicine was a “factual cause” of the
child’s heart defects. Juror Joe Mellon, who voted for Kilker, said
Glaxo didn’t conduct adequate studies on Paxil. “There were
a couple of what I thought were safety signals and what the plaintiffs presented
as safety signals that they should have maybe looked into further,”
Mellon said after the verdict was announced.
Philadelphia Common Pleas Court panel also found that Glaxo’s handling
of the drug wasn’t “outrageous,” meaning the family couldn’t
seek punitive damages against the drugmaker. Jurors awarded the family more
than double the $1.2 million they had sought for Kilker’s past and
future medical care and other damages caused by the heart defects.
is also fighting suits in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. over claims that
Paxil, whose generic name is paroxetine, causes homicidal and suicidal behavior.
The company settled some suicide claims, under undisclosed terms.
2004, the drugmaker agreed to pay the state of New York $2.5 million to
resolve claims that officials suppressed research showing Paxil may increase
suicide risk in young people. The settlement required Glaxo to publicly
disclose the studies.
2001, a jury in Cheyenne, Wyoming, ordered Glaxo to pay $6.4 million to
the relatives of a man who shot his family to death and then turned the
gun on himself after taking Paxil. The case was settled while on appeal,
according to Glaxo’s Colgan. The Philadelphia case is Kilker v. SmithKline
Beecham Corp. dba GlaxoSmithKline, 2007-001813, Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia
County, Pennsylvania ( Philadelphia).
you or a loved one have taken Paxil and experience Paxil
side effects, have had problems with Paxil withdrawal while trying to
discontinue Paxil use, have lost a loved one due to a Paxil suicide, or
have questions about a possible Paxil recall; contact the Paxil lawyers
of Ennis & Ennis, P.A. today and find out about the possibility of a