It's not uncommon to think that only in America lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies are filed, settled and/or won. For many years I was under the impression that it was nigh on impossible to get GlaxoSmithKline into court in the UK. Stumbling blocks, legal wrangles and funding just being some of the hurdles those of us involved in the UK group action against GSK have had to endure over the past ten years or so. Thankfully, against GSK's wishes, the group has now been granted access to trial by the presiding Judge (Back Story)
So, what about other countries? We rarely hear of pharmaceutical companies getting hauled in front of Judges outside of America (and now the UK)
Canada, for example, sits on the border of America yet, to my knowledge, no class action lawsuit has ever been brought against any pharmaceutical company where antidepressants are concerned. Maybe I'm wrong or maybe the Canadian media just don't want to report on any such action?
Step forward Australia. A country I hold dear to my heart.
Drayton Sher, a Sydney based law firm, are now working on a group action on behalf of people who, as children and adolescents, were prescribed the antidepressant drug paroxetine, known as Aropax in Australia.
It's a brave move and they should be applauded.
Aropax, which is known as Seroxat in Europe and Paxil in the US and Canada, has been the subject of many lawsuits ranging from it inducing suicide, homicide, birth defects and severe withdrawal reactions for a large number of people who have taken it.
The proposed class-action lawsuit comes on the back of recent findings that Glaxo played down the risk of Aropax use in children.
Last September a damning reanalysis of GlaxoSmithKline's infamous Study 329 went public. (Back story)
The original 329 study showed that...
"Paroxetine is generally well tolerated and effective for major depression in adolescents."However, after reanalyzing the study, it was found that the claims and subsequent support of the claims were misleading and, in actual fact, false.
Glaxo have remained tight-lipped regarding 329 for many years, on the odd occasion (slip-up) they have drawn attention to the abhorrent scale of those who could have been at risk but, as usual, those risks have either been spun or played down.
In 2003, GSK's then Head of Psychiatry, Alastair Benbow (pictured above) went on national television and claimed that, "less than a small class size would have these suicidal thoughts."
For those of you interested in Benbow's actual class size please feel to read Alastair Benbow: The Devil is in the Details - it makes interesting reading.
Drayton Sher can be contacted here.
A Facebook page has also been created where you can learn more about other lawsuits in the pipeline - here.