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Paxil CEO Testifies in First Paxil Birth Defect Case

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Another tragic story about a company that is more concerned about profits than the safety of its customers:

Officials of GlaxoSmithKline Plc, the U.K.’s largest drugmaker, said in 2001 that a birth defect in the fetus of a woman taking its Paxil antidepressant likely was linked to the drug, according to court testimony.

After analyzing a 2001 e-mail from a Paxil user who aborted her fetus because it had a heart defect, Glaxo officials noted in company files they were "almost certain" the drug was related to the problem, Jane Nieman, a former Glaxo drug-safety executive, told a Pennsylvania jury.

"I don’t know who made that assessment, but its there," Nieman testified in a videotaped deposition played yesterday for jurors. Nieman’s testimony came in the trial of another Paxil user’s lawsuit over birth defects suffered by her now 3-year-old son.

The first woman was taking Paxil as an antidepressant before she conceived her child, and was concerned that the drug would affect the development of the fetus. She emailed Glaxo in 2001 with her concerns, stating:

“If there is a chance that this might hurt or affect the baby I want to know up front and I will somehow stop taking it for the time being,” the woman said in the e-mail. “I love everything this drug has done for me. Please contact me as soon as possible. Please don’t forget about me.”

When she discovered that her fetus did have an irregular heartbeat, she decided to abort it. There are over 600 Paxil cases similar to this one, including the case of 3-year old Lyam Kilker, whose mother used Paxil while she was pregnant with him, and who was born with an irregular heartbeat that could potentially kill him.

Allegedly, Glaxo did know that Paxil could cause health defects, but hid this information from its customers to increase profits. In fact, Glaxo has records of the first woman’s email, with officials noting in the files that Paxil almost certainly did cause her fetus’ health problems. In spite of this knowledge, Glaxo launched a campaign to increase the prescription of Paxil to pregnant women, and as a result, Glaxo earned around $942 million in profits of of Paxil in one year alone.

Thankfully, people are now learning about the dangers of Paxil, and are victims of this deception are coming forward for compensation and justice.