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GlaxoSmithKline Admits Paxil Is Likely Linked to Birth Defects

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GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Paxil, faces 600 cases alleging that the company knew that its antidepressant drug caused birth defects and purposefully hid those risks to increase their profits. Currently, the drug maker is on trial in state-court in Philadelphia.

According to company documents, GlaxoSmithKline received an email from a Paxil user in 2001. The woman stated that she was forced to abort her fetus because it had a serious heart defect. Jane Nieman, a former Glaxo-drug safety official, recently testified that Glaxo officials noted in company files that they were “almost certain” that Paxil was linked to birth defects.

Nieman’s testimony came during a separate trial from the woman who wrote the 2001 email. However, Lyam Kilker also took Paxil and her 3-year-old son now suffers from a life-threatening heart defect. Kilker alleges that GlaxoSmithKline failed to inform consumers and regulators of the potential risks of taking Paxil. Lawyers for Kilker also argue that Glaxo launched a campaign to convince doctors to write more prescriptions for pregnant women dealing with anxiety. Since its approval in the U.S. in 1992, Glaxo has generated about $942 million each year from Paxil sales.