Paxil Lawsuits Have Resulted in Settlements Totaling Nearly $1 Billion

Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline has reportedly paid about $1 billion to settle Paxil lawsuits, including claims that their antidepressant caused birth defects, suicides, addiction and other problems. However, with another 600 Paxil birth defect lawsuits still pending, the company is likely to spend substantially more to satisfy jury verdicts or settle all Paxil cases.

After an examination of various public records and interviews with people familiar with the cases, a report by Bloomberg News estimates that Glaxo has spent about $390 million to settle Paxil suicide or attempted suicide lawsuits, $200 million to settle Paxil addiction and birth defect lawsuits and $400 million to resolve antitrust, fraud and design claims.

Paxil (paroxetine) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor prescribed to treat depression. Approved in 1992, it has become one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States, with sales of just under $1 billion last year.

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Side effects of Paxil have been linked to an increased risk of suicidal tendencies in some users, including a risk of death or severe injuries from attempted suicides. A large portion of the payments made so far have gone toward Paxil settlements for claims that Glaxo failed to adequately warn users and the medical community about the risk of suicide on Paxil. Bloomberg News indicates that about 150 suicide death cases were settled for an average of $2 million each and another 300 attempted suicide cases resolved for about $300,000 each.

The use of Paxil during pregnancy has also been linked to an increased risk of birth defects for children, including persistent pulmonary hypertension in newborns (PPHN) and other heart problems. Bloomberg News reports that at least 10 Paxil lawsuits involving birth defects have settled, at an average cost of about $4 million each.

There are currently about 600 more lawsuits over Paxil birth defects pending. Following a jury award in October for $2.5 million in one of the Paxil birth defect lawsuits tried in Pennsylvania, Savvas Neophytou, a London-based Panmure Gordon analysts, told investors that Glaxo faced a potential liability of $1.5 billion in the cases.

3 Comments

  • DawnMay 13, 2010 at 2:06 am

    After 6 years on paxil I developed stage 3C breast cancer. We have NO breast cancer on either side of the family.This is VERY disturbing !

  • KristineMay 4, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    I'm a recent breast cancer survivor....i was diagosed with breast cancer january 14th,2008. Iwent through two surgeries,6 months of chemo,and 34 radiation treatments. I had been on paxil for quite some time before being diagnosed. I am concerned about paxil being related to breast cancer.

  • BrandyFebruary 13, 2010 at 4:53 am

    I've always thought thats what happened to my sister/cousin/ I was adopted,she was 35 years old and my best friend she commited suicide which was so not like her, she was the best cousin/sister in the world, I lost the last of my family. Thanks, I am angry about this still, she was never warned about this, and her poor children.

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