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Paxil Birth Defect Trial Tossed Out of Court

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Summerville, SCIt was a heartbreaking end to a Paxil birth defects trial in Philadelphia, after a judge ended the proceedings at about the midway point, finding for GlaxoSmithKline (Glaxo), the defendant. The lawsuit, the first Paxil trial to be undertaken since Glaxo agreed in July to settle 800 cases by paying out more than $1 billion, attempted to determine whether Paxil caused a birth defect suffered by Anna Blyth.

Bloomberg News reported in November that the family's Paxil lawyer stated during trial it was the family's belief Paxil was responsible for a narrowing of the aorta leading from the heart of Anna Blyth, now 14. Further, the plaintiffs accused Glaxo as having in their possession research dating back to the 1980s showing Paxil as the root cause of deaths amongst the offspring of animal test subjects—but that Glaxo failed to provide warnings about the deaths.

According to Bloomberg, Paxil was approved for use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1992, three years before the plaintiff's mother, Marsha, was prescribed Paxil for a short time during her pregnancy, for depression.

Anna required two open-heart surgeries within nine months of her birth, according to the plaintiff's legal team.

Glaxo countered at trial that the label for Paxil contained "all the knowledge it had as of 1995," with regard to the potential risks of Paxil side effects for pregnant women. The manufacturer also noted that Anna Blyth had grown into a vibrant 14-year-old, an honor's student who plays volleyball and indulges in tae kwon do with no apparent lasting effects from her early health problems.

The defendant lobbied the presiding judge to dismiss the action, which State Court Judge Gary Glazer did—effectively ending the trial. It is not known if the Blyth family, which was not part of the earlier Glaxo settlement in July, will appeal the verdict.

Bloomberg reported that 15 additional Paxil cases against Glaxo alleging Paxil birth defects are slated for Philadelphia next year. Some birth defects allegedly linked to Paxil have been severe, resulting on occasion in Paxil infant death.

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