||30 Utahns join Paxil lawsuit
Deseret Morning News
residents on Thursday joined the some 4,000 people nationwide who have
sued the makers of Paxil, a popular anti-depressant from the British drug
According to a lawsuit
filed in U.S. District Court, the Utahns all suffered severe reactions
after attempting to stop taking Paxil, which allegedly had been marketed
"At all times relevant
herein, (GlaxoSmithKline) knew that Paxil could cause severe withdrawal
reactions but for years concealed, suppressed and downplayed the severity
and frequency of their existence to plaintiffs, the medical community and
the consuming public," the suit states. "As a result, plaintiffs were
deprived of their ability to exercise their full and informed consent when
deciding to take Paxil."
Had the Utahns known of
the "debilitating withdrawal symptoms" — including severe nausea,
dizziness and sensory disturbances such as electronic "zaps" — many of
them would not have taken Paxil in the first place, attorney Karen Barth
Barth Menzies, of the Los Angeles-based law firm Baum Hedlund, is
the lead attorney in the nationwide Paxil withdrawal litigation. Her firm
filed the first class-action lawsuit against GlaxoSmithKline in August
2001 and has since filed lawsuits in 28 states.
Thursday's lawsuit will be transferred from Utah's federal court to a
special Multidistrict Litigation court based in Los Angeles.
The Utah case accuses GlaxoSmithKline of fraud and
fraudulent misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation and marketing,
breach of express warranty, negligence, strict liability, unjust
enrichment and violations of the Utah Consumer Sales Practices
The 30 plaintiffs are seeking monetary
compensation, as well as injunctive relief that would require
GlaxoSmithKline to stop their alleged false marketing of Paxil.
"They're trying to obtain relief for the suffering they've
had to go through," Barth Menzies said. "There's a lot of people who've
had to miss work and couldn't take care of their kids."
Some of the plaintiffs' withdrawal symptoms have been so severe
they are forced to continue taking the medication, she said. In those
cases, they are also seeking compensation for the cost of the
Earlier this week, New York Attorney
General Eliot Spitzer sued GlaxoSmithKline for consumer fraud, contending
the drug maker failed to tell physicians studies showed that Paxil was not
effective in adolescent patients and may be linked to come cases of
The drug company has responded with a
statement saying it "has acted responsibly in conducting clinical studies
in pediatric patients and disseminating data from those studies."