GlaxoSmithKline, maker of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor Paxil, is mired in a class action lawsuit in Canada that alleges the antidepressant caused birth defects in children whose expectant mothers took the drug without the corporation’s adequate warning of the heightened risks. A British Columbia judge permitted the class action.
(NaturalNews) Radio personality Dr. Drew Pinsky once touted GlaxoSmithKline PLC’s antidepressant Wellbutrin as one of a few such medications he prescribed to patients suffering from depression because it “may enhance or at least not suppress sexual arousal” as much as other antidepressants.
What he didn’t tell listeners during that 1999 endorsement; however, was that two months earlier Dr. Pinsky – who rose to fame as “Dr. Drew,” co-hosting a popular radio sex-advice show, “Loveline” – received the second of two payments from GSK for a total of $275,000 for “services for Wellbutrin,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
The paper said the payments were made to Pinsky via a communications firm that worked for GSK, according to revelations in an attachment to a complaint filed by the U.S. government in October 2011 in a Massachusetts federal court. The documents were disclosed in early July after the Justice Department announced a $3 billion criminal and civil settlement with GSK over illegal medication marketing, among other things.
The international pharmaceutical giant took top-prescribing psychiatrists to pricey resorts in Bermuda, Jamaica, Hawaii and other exotic locales where, in between spa services, they could hear speeches from fellow shrinks that the company paid to dither on about how kids should pop its pills.
America’s children were depressed. They needed antidepressants. It was GlaxoSmithKline to the rescue.
Paxil was never approved for use by anyone under 18, but GlaxoSmithKline had 1,900 sales reps visiting doctor’s offices, and pushing the drug for kids.
British registered company, GlaxoSmithKline, faces $3 billion in penalties after pleading guilty to the biggest health care fraud case in history. GSK admitted that physicians had been bribed to push potentially dangerous drugs in exchange for Madonna tickets, Hawaiian holidays, cash and lucrative speaking tours. They also admitted distributing misleading information regarding the antidepressant Paxil. The report claimed that it was suitable for children, but failed to acknowledge data from studies proving its ineffectiveness in children and adolescents.
Part of the case made by U.S. prosecutors that led to GlaxoSmithKline‘s $3 billion settlement today is that the company used a network of paid experts, speaking to doctors and to the press, to promote uses of its drugs that had not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. According to the Department of Justice’s complaint, one of those paid experts was celebrity physician Dr. Drew Pinsky, then the host of the radio show Loveline, which was also being broadcast on MTV. Pinsky has gone on to host Celebrity Rehab, Dr. Drew on HLN, and Dr. Drew’s Lifechangers on the CW.