Lawyers acting for 1,700 people in the UK have issued a pre-action letter of claim against GlaxoSmithKline alleging serious side-effects have been suffered by their clients taking one of its best-selling drugs, the anti-depressant Seroxat.
Already, concerns over the addictive properties of Seroxat have led the UK Government to ban its prescription to people under the age of 18.
On Monday, the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency is expected to tighten up guidelines in the use of anti-depressants after a major safety review.
The drug is also facing challenges in the US, where it is marketed as Paxil. Regulators there want its labelling changed to highlight the risk factors more fully, while lawyers are looking to claim compensation on behalf of clients.
GlaxoSmithKline said yesterday it had received a letter of claim from Hugh James Solicitors on Thursday and it was considering it in detail.
The pharmaceuticals giant’s chief executive Jean-Pierre Garnier has spoken recently about the need to speed the development of other drugs, especially of a cervical cancer vaccine that he feels could be a blockbuster, because of safety concerns with other drugs.