GlaxoSmithKline Settlement - Consumer Justice Foundation

GlaxoSmithKline Settlement

Written by Faith Anderson on July 3, 2012
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Antidepressant Drug Side Effects

Paxil (paroxetine) is an SSRI (selective serotonin reputake inhibitor) that first entered the market in the U.S. in 1992 as a treatment for depression. From 1996 to 2001, Paxil was additionally indicated by the FDA to treat major panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. Wellbutrin was approved by the FDA in 1985 and is commonly used to treat major depressive disorder and a condition called seasonal affective disorder, which is a type of depression that occurs primarily in the fall and winter. Despite their popularity however, both Paxil and Wellbutrin have been linked to possible side effects like neural tube birth defects and heart birth defects when used in pregnancy.

GSK Drugs Marketed for Unapproved Uses

According to the criminal information tied to the case, GlaxoSmithKline promoted Paxil as a safe and effective treatment for kids and teens struggling with depression, despite the fact that significant evidence suggests otherwise, and the fact that the medication has not been approved by the FDA for this use. In fact, in 2003, the FDA issued a warning about the use of Paxil in teens due to an increased risk of suicide. “GSK expressly and unequivocally admits that it committed the crimes charged in the information, and is in fact guilty of those offenses,” said the plea agreement from the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston. As a result of these illegal actions, GlaxoSmithKline will pay $1 billion in criminal fines and another $2 billion to resolve state and federal civil fraud claims.

Despite a lack of FDA approval, GSK also promoted Wellbutrin as a treatment for conditions ranging from ADHD to obesity at a time when the medication had only been approved to treat major depression. The drug firm also marketed Wellbutrin as a remedy for the side effects of other antidepressants, including sexual dysfunction. According to the government, “GSK sales representatives sometimes referred to Wellbutrin as ‘the happy, horny, skinny pill’ when touting its unapproved uses.”

Drug Injury Attorneys for Drug Side Effects

Other parts of the GSK settlement cover civil matters, varying from overcharging Medicaid for medications to paying kickbacks to doctors. Glaxo acknowledged the serious issues brought up in the case and vowed to do better. “Today brings to resolution difficult, long-standing matters for GSK,” said CEO Sir Andrew Witty in a statement. “Whilst these originate in a different era for the company, they cannot and will not be ignored. On behalf of GSK, I want to express our regret and reiterate that we have learnt from the mistakes that were made.” If you or a loved one has suffered injuries caused by the antidepressant Paxil or Wellbutrin, contact an experienced drug injury lawyer to discuss your legal options. You may have grounds to file a drug injury lawsuit against GlaxoSmithKline, in order to pursue financial compensation for your injuries and medical bills.

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