GlaxoSmithKline markets Paxil as an anti-depressant that will cure everything from a mild case of the blues to Social Anxiety Disorder, but this powerful mind-altering drug has a long history of causing severe emotional problems, personal injuries, and deaths in people who turn to it for help.A trial that began in September 2009 has shown that Paxil is also very dangerous for unborn babies. Michelle David has sued GSK for Paxil causing heart defects in her son. The mother received a prescription for Paxil during her pregnancy, and her son has required numerous heart surgeries and he is facing more.

Paxil does not have FDA approval for use in children or teenagers, but any doctor who prescribes it for a pregnant woman is also prescribing it for her child, and placing that unborn child in danger of birth defects. Another threat is that antidepressants such as Paxil disrupt blood sugar metabolism and increase the chances of developing gestational diabetes.

Evidence introduced at the trial showed that GSK had been aware since 1980 (then known as Glaxo) that paroxetine, the active ingredient in Paxil, could cause birth defects. When that information surfaced, the company’s simple solution was to destroy the evidence.

Drugs such as Paxil contribute to miscarriages and stillbirths, and the FDA’s MedWatch System reported 112 infant deaths from Paxil between 2004 and 2007. Because Medwatch records only a small percentage of such adverse events, the actual number is probably much higher.

Paxil’s lethal legacy includes suicides, addiction, painful withdrawals, and a long list of personal injuries, emotional distress, and even wrongful deaths. If Paxil were an illegal “street” drug, public health officials would have mounted campaigns to warn people of its dangers, but because the company that sells Paxil has friends in high places, the deadly drug is still on the market, and it’s still destroying lives.

GSK has a reputation for unethical behavior, so the news of another lawsuit is hardly surprising. GSK is a huge multinational company that routinely ignores the laws of the countries where it does business. Even though the company does have friends in high places, it can’t avoid all fines, so it treats them as just another cost of doing business. In recent years, GSK has broken the law and received fines in New Zealand and England, as well as the United States.

In the United States, GSK paid $3.1 billion to settle the largest tax dispute in the history of the IRS. GSK has also impacted taxpayers by overcharging Medicare and Medicaid for two anti-nausea drugs.

In addition, GSK has engaged in other forms of corrupt behavior. One that has recently surfaced is its practice of ghostwriting articles about Paxil for publication in medical journals. The articles overstated the benefits and largely ignored the dangers inherent in the drug. GSK published the articles under the names of doctors, even though the doctors didn’t actually do the writing. Because people often trust their doctors blindly, the ghostwritten articles helped to sell more Paxil.

The company also has a marketing strategy of creating diseases to increase drug sales. At GSK, almost any human behavior is a disease that requires drug treatment, and in 1998, GSK sought FDA approval to market Paxil as a cure for an extremely rare condition called Social Anxiety Disorder, which is just a scary name for shyness.

Despite the damage done by anti-depressants, the government of the United States is working with the pharmaceutical companies to help them increase their sales of drugs to pregnant women. The Mothers Act, which the House of Representatives has already passed, will almost certainly increase prescriptions for anti-depressants in pregnant women, and more babies will suffer personal injuries and wrongful deaths as a result.

Anyone needing help for birth defects caused by Paxil or any other drug can talk to an experienced lawyer by contacting us. There is no charge. All work is performed on a contingency basis. If we don’t collect, you owe nothing. We never charge for taking a call or making one.

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Richard Alexander