Birth Defect Lawsuits Settling Before Trial

Civil lawsuits against GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturer of Paxil, an antidepressant drug belonging to the class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs, have settled prior to trial in Philadelphia. According to the National Law Journal, only one of the Paxil lawsuits have gone to trial.
The birth defect lawsuits allege that pregnant women who’ve taken Paxil to fight depression are at a greater risk of giving birth to babies who suffer from birth defects, particularly cardiac defects.
In 2005, the FDA issued a Public Health Advisory regarding Paxil side effects and warned healthcare providers about two studies linking Paxil to a higher risk of birth defects in children whose mothers had taken the drug.
In 2006, the FDA instructed GlaxoSmithKline to change the drug label to include a warning about specific birth defects including Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension (PPHN), a serious respiratory disorder that prevents the newborn from receiving proper amounts of oxygen.
Last October, GlaxoSmithKline lost the only Paxil trial. The jury awarded the family $2.5 million because its child was born with heart defects. The jury in that case found that GlaxoSmithKline failed to warn doctors concerning the serious side effects of Paxil, including serious birth defects. It also found Paxil to be a “factual cause” of the birth defect in the child.
Since that trial, GlaxoSmithKline has chosen to settle its other Paxil lawsuits. Other drugs in the same family of drugs as Paxil include Lexapro, Celexa, and Prozac.