Drugs firm ordered to pay $6.4 Million for Texas bloodbath drugs case Sarah Boseley, health correspondent Friday June 8, 2001 The Guardian The British drug
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, Jun 7, 2001
Drugs firm ordered to pay $6.4 Million for Texas
'bloodbath' drugs case
Sarah Boseley, health
Friday June 8, 2001
The British drug giant GlaxoSmithKline has been
ordered to pay $6.4m (£4.7m) to the family of a man in the US who shot
his wife, daughter and granddaughter and then killed himself while on the
anti-depressant known as Paxil.
The verdict is a serious blow for drug companies which have made billions
from Prozac - the class of drug that includes Paxil - and its sister
drugs. It is the first time that a jury has agreed that the
antidepressants can cause some people to become violent and suicidal.
Other cases brought in the US have either been lost or settled out of
There will now be renewed pressure on manufacturers to issue warnings
with the drugs.
Mr Vickery said the case had been a fair hearing which had established
that Paxil and other drugs in the SSRI (selective serotonin re-uptake
inhibitor) class could cause violent acts in certain people, even though
they were of great benefit to others. The jury decided the drug was 80%
to blame for the four deaths.
"What Glaxo needs to do is to take heed of this verdict and become
the industry leader, saying this jury is right, doctors need more
information. [Glaxo] could become heroes from this," said Mr
But GlaxoSmithKline firmly rejected the verdict, and said it would
appeal. "We are saddened by this tragedy but we do not believe that
Paxil had any responsibility for what happened on that day," said a
spokesman. He said Paxil had gone through extensive clinical trials and
been prescribed on more than 70m occasions by doctors.
David Healy, director of the North Wales department of psychological
medicine, was a key witness for the Tobin family. His evidence to
court suggested Paxil could produce inner turmoil even in healthy
Dr Healy wrote to the medicines control agency in London after the
verdict. He said the MCA should warn doctors about the drugs.
Graham Ross, the solicitor bringing a case against Eli Lilly, makers of
Prozac, on behalf of the family of Reginald Payne, who killed himself and
his wife after 11 days on the drug, said: "I think this is a vital
decision... what is important is the decision on the facts - what is
causing these effects, whatever the country."
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