As if GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) problems with the popular diabetes drug Avandia weren’t enough, the global drug manufacturer recently had to pay $1 billion to settle approximately 800 Paxil lawsuits.
Paxil, generically known as paraxotine, is most commonly used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety. The drug’s side effects, however, have proved to be devastating and often fatal. Indeed, the popular drug has been linked to suicidal thoughts, and FDA reports indicate the drug may be the cause of hundreds of birth-defect cases, including cardiac malformations in newborns.
So devastating are Paxil’s side effects that in 2001, a Wyoming Jury awarded more than $6 million to the relatives of a Gillette man who killed himself after shooting and killing his wife, daughter and granddaughter. The jury found the killing was a direct result of the man’s Paxil consumption. http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/mass_tort_litigation/trial/. Last year, a Pennsylvania jury also awarded $2.5 million to a mother whose Paxil use during pregnancy caused her son’s heart defects.
These figures show the expected: GSK’s settlement will save the pharmaceutical giant the expense and time a massive products liability suit would bring upon the company. However, dozens of cases still remain unsettled. According to Business Week, there are still about 100 Paxil birth-defect cases pending in the U.S. courts, and settlements for those who have decided to resolve the matter outside of court average more than $1.2 million per family.