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A court in Pennsylvania has ordered Glaxo (GSK) to pay Michelle David $2.5 million for past and future medical expenses for her son who was born with severe birth defects that were caused by the anti-depressant Paxil that was prescribed for her during her pregnancy. 

The jury based its award on its finding that GSK, the drug’s manufacturer, had “negligently failed to warn” the doctor treating Ms. David about Paxil’s potential dangers to her unborn child’s heart.

GSK eventually issued a warning about the dangers of pregnant women using Paxil, but that warning didn’t come out until 2005, which was too late for Ms. David’s son and too late for many other children with birth defects whose mothers took this medication.

At the trial, a memo written by a GSK executive in 1997 was read to the jury.  It said, “If neg, results can bury.” That meant that if the results of clinical trials on Paxil showed that it was harmful or ineffective, the company would then have to conduct animal trials.  Glaxo had urged scientists doing the testing to withhold negative results from a paper on the drug’s safety.

Paxil is a popular antidepressant that generated $849 million in sales for Glaxo in 2008. It’s a member of a class of dangerous drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). The SSRI class includes Prozac and Zoloft, which are well known to personal injury attorneys as the cause of injuries, suicides, and wrongful deaths.

Doctors freely prescribe these dangerous drugs, even though no one knows exactly how they work. The staff of the famous Mayo Clinic admits: “Precisely how SSRIs affect depression isn’t clear.” That means that millions of Americans and millions more around the world are taking these powerful medicines, and nobody knows exactly what they do to the body’s chemistry.

As we have pointed out before, Paxil Study 329 found that the drug has a long list of painful and destructive side effects, including nausea, dry mouth, headache, diarrhea, nervousness, rash, weight, gain, drowsiness, and insomnia. The onset of those symptoms could trigger depression in a happy person.

What was even worse about that study was it’s finding that Paxil worked no better than a placebo to treat depression. $849 million are spent on a drug that doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do, but does harm many of the people who take it.

More than 600 similar cases of birth defects in babies whose mothers used Paxil during their pregnancies are now moving toward trial, and this result may help those injured children to justice and hopefully full compensation.

If your child, you, or someone you love has suffered a personal injury because of Paxil, contact the injury lawyers at our firm to learn if legal action can bring you compensation and the justice you deserve.

If you suspect your child has suffered birth defects because of suspected dangerous drugs or an exposure to chemicals at work, we can help.  Call 1.888.777.1776 for a free and confidential consultation or email to find out if we can make a difference for you or your family. There is no charge unless, and until, we collect for you.


Richard Alexander