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Jury Awards $2.5M In Paxil Birth Defect Case

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Friday, October 16, 2009 2:57 PM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: FDA and Prescription Drugs, GlaxoSmithKline, Paxil, Birth Defects, Sheller PC, Antidepressants, Depression

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IMAGE SOURCE: © Wikimedia Commons/paroxetine (Paxil)/author: Tokino

The first of 600 pending cases across the country that allege GlaxoSmithKline continued to promote its antidepressant Paxil while withholding evidence that it caused severe birth defects, was recently settled.

Glaxo must pay $2.5 million to settle a claim that Paxil caused significant heart defects in a 3-year-old Bensalem boy.

Michelle David claimed her son, Lyam Kilker, suffered life-threatening heart defects due to her taking Paxil while pregnant with him.

A Philadelphia Commons Pleas Court jury deliberated for seven hours over two days before reaching the verdict.

GSK issued a statement saying it disagreed with the verdict and will appeal the decision.

“While we sympathize with Lyam Kilker and his family, the scientific evidence does not establish that exposure to Paxil during pregnancy caused his condition. Very unfortunately, birth defects occur in 3 to 5 percent of all live births, whether or not the mother was taking medication during pregnancy."

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have been linked to a host of health problems, including a higher occurence in pulmonary hypertension, an abnormally high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs that can lead to heart failure.

David and Lyam’s attorneys, Sean Tracey of Houston and Jamie Sheller of the Philadelphia firm Sheller P.C., (also an InjuryBoard Member) argued that Glaxo withheld information from consumers and regulators regarding the risk of birth defects and failed to properly test Paxil.

The jury found GlaxoSmithKline guilty of negligence but not outrageous conduct, and rejected punitive damages.

After his birth, Lyam was hospitalized for several months so doctors could repair his heart. As he grows he will require more surgeries.

Paxil was initially classified as a drug with no known link to increased birth defects from its introduction in 1992. In 2005, the FDA began warning that Paxil may be associated with birth defects and strengthened the warning.

Plaintiffs lawyers will continue to pursue punitive damages in the hundreds of remaining cases, the next of which is set for trial next month in Philadelphia. #


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