Five Paxil birth defects trials are reportedly set to go to trial in May 2011. The lawsuits allege that GlaxoSmithKline, maker of Paxil, failed to adequately warn about the risk of Paxil to newborn babies. These lawsuits are not the first Paxil birth defects lawsuits to go to trial.
One lawsuit, Kilker v. GSK, ended in 2009 with a verdict in favor of the plaintiffs, awarding them $2.5 million. Lyam Kilker was born with serious heart defects after his mother took Paxil while pregnant. The lawsuit alleged Lyam's birth defects were caused by the exposure to Paxil during the pregnancy. A jury found GlaxoSmithKline guilty of negligence and awarded the plaintiffs $2.5 million.
During the trial, the family's lawyer provided internal GlaxoSmithKline documents in which executives discussed burying studies that potentially linked Paxil to birth defects. Furthermore, some of GlaxoSmithKline's own scientists expressed concern about the number of infants who were affected by Paxil while still in the womb, according to Bloomberg (07/20/10). The jury did not, however, award punitive damages because it found that the pharmaceutical company was not guilty of outrageous conduct.
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GlaxoSmithKline said Paxil's label contained all the knowledge it had about the risks of Paxil. Furthermore, GlaxoSmithKline argued, Blyth had no apparent lasting health problems following the early surgeries.
In 2010, GlaxoSmithKline agreed to pay approximately $1 billion to settle approximately 800 cases alleging infants suffered from Paxil birth defects. That worked out to approximately $1.2 million per family. The settlement, however, did not cover all Paxil birth defects lawsuits, leaving approximately 100 pending.
According to Bloomberg, 15 Paxil cases are scheduled for trial in Philadelphia in 2011.