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GSK paid $1bn to settle Paxil lawsuits

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has paid almost $1bn to resolve lawsuits over its antidrepressant Paxil since it was introduced in 1993

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has paid almost $1bn to resolve lawsuits over its antidrepressant Paxil since it was introduced in 1993. Analysts have said the amount is higher than what was expected.

The total paid by the UK's largest pharmaceutical company includes around $390m for cases regarding suicides or attempted suicides reportedly linked to the drug; a further $200m to settle lawsuits of addiction and birth defects; and $400m over antitrust and fraud claims.

However, the $1bn does not include the additional 600+ outstanding claims that Paxil caused birth defects. Only 10 such cases have been settled, at an average cost of $4m to GSK. In one case, settled in October 09, GSK was ordered to pay $2.5m in compensatory damages. Based on these figures, the company may face an additional liability of around $1.5bn.

GSK has declined to confirm the $1bn figure. Spokesperson Sarah Alspach said: "Paxil has been on the market in the US since 1993. Like many other pharmaceutical products, it has been the subject of different kinds of litigation over the years. It would be inappropriate and potentially misleading to aggregate payments in these various types of litigation."

15th December 2009

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