Another Paxil Birth Defect Lawsuit Reported SettledJul 20, 2010 | Parker Waichman LLP
GlaxoSmithKline may have settled another Paxil birth defect lawsuit. According to the Associated Press, the lawsuit was filed by a South Dakota woman who blamed the antidepressant for the death of her infant son.
The suit was brought by Jennifer Berg in 2007, who took Paxil while she was pregnant. She claimed that her use of Paxil caused her son, Nathan, to be born with Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN), a heart disorder which prevents proper oxygenation of the blood. Nathan died just 58 days after he was born.
Berg’s lawsuit sought unspecified damages from the company for failing to warn of a link between the two, the Associated Press said.
While no settlement documents have been filed in court, letters from Berg’s attorneys to the presiding judge indicate there’s a settlement, the Associated Press said. Her lawyers did not immediately return a phone call Monday from the Associated Press seeking comment.
In July 2006, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) instructed the makers of antidepressants such as Paxil to revise their labels to include information about PPN. That same year, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that babies born to mothers who took these types of drugs – known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) – during the second half of pregnancy had a significantly increased risk of being born with PPPHN.
As we’ve reported previously, Glaxo has been settling Paxil birth defect lawsuits recently. According to an article published in The National Law Journal last month, Glaxo has settled nearly every birth defect lawsuit scheduled to go to trial in Philadelphia, PA over the next eight months. In fact, only one lawsuit in the mass tort Paxil program had gone to trial so far.
GlaxoSmithKline lost the first Paxil birth defect lawsuit to go to trial last October, when a Philadelphia jury ordered the drug maker to pay $2.5 million to the family of a 3-year-old boy who was born with heart defects. The jury found 10-2 that Glaxo officials “negligently failed to warn” the doctor treating the child’s mother about Paxil’s birth defect risk. It also concluded the antidepressant was a “factual cause” of the child’s heart defects.
The case, known as Kilker v. SmithKline Beecham Corp. d/b/a GlaxoSmithKline, was seen as a leading indicator of the strength of more than 600 similar cases.
According to the National Law Journal, Glaxo has since chosen to settle the Kilker case, along with about 190 others. Most of the cases that are settling involve cardiac defects, but there are other minor plaintiffs alleging defects because of their mothers’ use of Paxil, the report said. The terms of the settlements so far remain confidential.