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Pharma Company Faces Court Action Over Pill Suicide

Pill Suicide

Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline is set to face a trial in the U.S. over a suicide of a patient, in relation to one of the products produced by the British-based company.

The case concerns the suicide of a man from Illinois, Pharmaceutical Manufacturing has found out. The man took a generic version of an antidepressant developed at GlaxoSmithKline, called Paxil. The death happened in July 2010, when a lawyer called Stewart Dolin thre himself in front of a train in Chicago. A post-mortem showed the presence of the generic version of Paxil in the man’s blood.

GlaxoSmithKline has initially attempted to block a hearing. However, District Judge in the U.S. has put aside motions filed by GlaxoSmithKline defense lawyers. This means that the case will go to court in September 2016.

The basis of the claim, brought by the man’s family, is that GlaxoSmithKline failed to adequately explain on the label for the anti-depressant the risk of suicidal behavior, particularly in the context that GlaxoSmithKline knew of the risk (albeit a low one).

A claim was to have been brought against the company that actually made the generic drug product – Mylan – however, this was dismissed back in 2014. This is because it is not the role of the generic drug manufacturer to specify label content. This is deemed to be the responsibility of the originator of the branded product.

GlaxoSmithKline has not previously faced a case of this nature in a court of law.

About the author

Tim Sandle

Dr. Tim Sandle is a chartered biologist and holds a first class honours degree in Applied Biology; a Masters degree in education; and has a doctorate from Keele University.

  • Victor Grayson

    I wonder if this will actually get to court?