Judge Tells Paxil Makers To Release Scientific Research E-Mails

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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As the first trial over GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) antidepressant drug, Paxil, and its link to birth defects begins in Philadelphia, Pennsylania, another Paxil lawsuit in Massachusetts is also getting attention as U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner refuses to grant GSK’s request to keep e-mails over scientific research materials confidential.

Did GSK influence researchers?

That’s what the family of William Seale, a one year old boy who died in 2004 after his mother took Paxil while she was pregnant, says. They requested e-mails concerning research from Boston University that was funded by GSK on birth defects and Paxil, generically known as paroxetine, use alleging that the company influenced researchers on the outcome of the study, controlled what was ultimately published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) in 2007 and sought to protect the company against lawsuits by managing negative study results. The judge granted their request.

Although GSK is adament that it did not suppress information relating to research, the pharmaceutical giant settled a lawsuit with the State of New York Attorney General’s Office for $2.5 million to resolve claims that it suppressed research showing that Paxil may increase the risk of suicide in young people.

First Paxil trial underway in Philadelphia

The first Paxil lawsuit to go to trial involves Michelle David, the mother of a three year old boy who was born with defects including two holes in his heart and underwent multiple surgeries within six months of his birth. She alleges that Paxil use caused her son’s injuries and that GSK knew that Paxil could increase the risk of birth defects as far back as 1980 and that it didn’t sufficiently research the drug before or after it went on the market.

Paxil use has been linked the following birth defects:

  • cardiac defects (heart)
  • pulmonary defects (lung)
  • neural-tube defects (brain and spinal cord)
  • craniosynostosis defects (abnormally shaped skull)
  • infant omphalocele defects (abdominal wall)
  • club foot (one or both feet turn downward and inward)
  • anal atresia (complete or partial closure of the anus)

If you’ve been injured by Paxil, contact an experienced drug litigation attorney for a free case review. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

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