Recently, in a generic paxil suicide lawsuit, Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK) lost a part of its summary judgment motion. This generic paxil suicide lawsuit is filed in the USDC – Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division.
This generic paxil suicide lawsuit presents a seminal issue – federal law vs state law and preemption – that is in the forefront of in not only prescription and generic drug liability but also in medical device liability.
The generic paxil suicide lawsuit at issue alleges the following:
- Plaintiff Wendy Dolin was married to Stewart Dolin for 35 years
- According to the complaint, the Dolins were financially secure, owned their home outright, and had no pressing debts
- In June 2010, Mr. Dolin’s family doctor wrote him a prescription for Paxil to treat work-related anxiety and depression
- Paxil is the name-brand version of the drug paroxetine hydrochloride (“paroxetine”) and is owned and manufactured by GSK
- The drug was first approved for use in the United States in 1992 for treatment of depression in adults
- Mr. Dolin’s prescription, however, was ultimately filled with a generic version of paroxetine
- Mylan obtained approval to market generic paroxetine in 2007
- It is undisputed that the paroxetine Mr. Dolin ultimately ingested was manufactured by Mylan.
- On July 15, 2010, six days after beginning to take paroxetine, Mr. Dolin left his office shortly after having returned from lunch with a business associate
- He walked to a nearby Chicago Transit Authority Blue Line station at Washington and Dearborn in downtown Chicago
- As a northbound train approached the station, Mr. Dolin leaped in front of it to his death
- Blood tests taken with Mr. Dolin’s autopsy were positive for paroxetine
- The complaint alleges that paroxetine and other similar serotonergic antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (“SSRIs”) can cause an adverse reaction called akathisia, a neurobiological phenomenon marked by profound inner restlessness and agitation
- Patients experiencing such a reaction will often exhibit an inability to sit still, pacing and hand- wringing
- The complaint alleges that akathisia has long been associated with suicidal behavior
- According to the complaint, Mr. Dolin exhibited classic symptoms of akathisia immediately before his death
- A nurse alleged to have been on the platform at the same time as Mr. Dolin noticed that Mr. Dolin was “very agitated, pacing back and forth and looking down the tracks.”
- The paroxetine label in existence at the time of Mr. Dolin’s death, however, did not warn of the drug’s association with increased risk of suicidal behavior in adults
- Indeed, the label stated that the suicidality risk did not extend beyond the age of 24
- Plaintiff asserts that GSK nevertheless had knowledge that paroxetine use carried a 6.7 times greater risk of suicidal behavior in adults compared to a placebo
- Plaintiff asserts that GSK has been aware of paroxetine’s association with this increased risk for over 20 years
- Plaintiff asserts that GSK concealed the risk, however, and promoted its version of paroxetine, Paxil, as safe and effective
- Plaintiff has brought common law negligence and negligent misrepresentation claims as well as product liability claims under theories of both negligence and strict liability against both defendants
- Defendant GSK basically alleges that it is not liable because it did not manufacture the drug paroxetine (generic drug) and cannot be at fault and the defendant Mylan alleges that it cannot be liable because a generic manufacturer escapes liability for the injury based on federal preemption.
- The court basically held that the plaintiff was allowed to proceed on its state law claims – the negligence et al. claims – against the name brand manufacturer of paroxetine (paxil) Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK) but not the strict liability issue, and was not allowed to proceed against the generic manufacturer (Mylan) of paxil (paroxetine) because of federal preemption.
PAXIL — BIRTH DEFECTS
In addition to this type of generic paxil suicide lawsuit, there have been many paxil lawsuits filed by parents based on injuries sustained by their children. This type of paxil lawsuit was related to birth defect injuries – major and/or cardiovascular malformations associated with a specific SSRI (e.g., fluoxetine, paroxetine (PAXIL), sertraline (ZOLOFT), citalopram, escitalopram, and fluvoxamine). This kind of Paxil lawsuit also alleges that GlaxoSmithKline knew that taking Paxil during pregnancy poses serious health risks to the developing fetus.
Paxil (paroxetine hydrochloride), manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, was marketed beginning in 1987 as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI/SSRIs) medication designed to relieve:
- anxiety disorders
- bulimia nervosa
- borderline personality disorder
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Studies have linked the use of SSRI like Paxil and Zoloft during pregnancy with an increased risk of birth defects like heart congenital defects (risk birth injury defects) – heart valve defects, atrial (ASD) and ventricular septal defects (VSD) (holes in the walls of the chambers of the heart) – in newborns when Paxil or Zoloft is taken during the pregnancy (possibly the first first three months of pregnancy) and persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN), a life-threatening respiratory condition that affects a baby’s ability to breathe after birth. And, as alleged in the generic paxil suicide lawsuit, there may potentially be potential claims against the name brand manufacturer even if the generic drug was used and the injury occurred while on the use of the generic.
For more information on Paxil and birth defects, click here.
If you were pregnant and took an SSRI and your child was born with pulmonary hypertension, heart injuries or other birth defects and you were prescribed Paxil or other antidepressant drugs (e.g., Zoloft) while pregnant or know someone that was prescribed paxil for depression and has been injured and would like your case evaluated, please contact our law firm to learn about your rights.
At the Gooch Law Firm, we pride ourselves on providing our clients reliable representation for even the most challenging cases. If you have a child that has a birth injury or birth defect (e.g., PPHN, heart or lung defect) that you believe may have been caused by a defective drug or know someone that has been harmed from use of generic paxil for depression and would like your case evaluated or need help filing a paxil lawsuit, (e.g., paxil and zoloft), contact our office at 1.844.329.5955.
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