$3 million GSK verdict thrown out of court

pharmafile | August 23, 2018 | News story | Sales and Marketing GSK, Litigation, antidepressants, suicide, verdict 

A $3 million verdict against British multinational GlaxoSmithKline has been thrown out after a US appeals court said that GSK could not be sued over the suicide of an attorney who took a generic version of GSK’s antidepressant medication Paxil.

In 2017 a jury in a Chicago federal court awarded the widow of Stewart Dolin $3 million after he jumped in front of a commuter train. Due to the fact that under a 2011 ruling generic drug makers cannot be sued for failing to provide adequate label warnings about potential side effects, Wendy Dolin filed a suit against GSK who controlled Paxil’s label and design.

The widow argued that the Paxil label had failed to warn of suicide risks among adults alleging that the company had underreported adult suicides associated with the use of the antidepressant medication.

However GSK argued that the FDA had repeatedly refused to update Paxil’s warning labels despite the company requesting that they do so. The US court of Appeals seventh circuit agreed that there was clear evidence that the FDA would have rejected adult suicide warnings on Paxil’s label. However the medication’s label does warn of a suicide risk for those under the age of 24.

The case which is set to determine whether brand name manufacturers can be sued for injuries blamed on generic versions of their drugs has been watched closely by those within the pharmaceutical industry as a lawyer for GSK argued that a verdict against GSK would “totally upend the pharmaceutical industry.”

Louis Goss

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