A tragic case out of Chicago involving a successful attorney’s suicide highlights not only the dangers of SSRI drugs, but also the difficulty some victims have in holding drug manufacturers accountable for dangerous drugs. In 2010, an attorney was having anxiety at work, and decided to talk to a doctor about it. He was prescribed Paxil, which is a SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor). SSRIs are used to treat depression and anxiety.

The man filled the prescription with generic Paxil. He took six tablets in the days before his death, as prescribed by a doctor. He began suffering from a side effect known as akathisia, which is an inner restlessness and agitation that is extremely intense. Despite having a happy family life and a very successful career, he jumped in front of a moving train very shortly after he began taking the prescription drug.

His widow decided to sue both GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturer of Paxil, and the manufacturer of generic Paxil. She alleges that the warning on the generic bottle of Paxil was inadequate because it did not mention the increased risk of suicide for people over the age of 24. She also claims that GlaxoSmithKline has known of the increased risk but has suppressed warnings about it for years.

However, in cases such as this one where the warning label on a generic drug is defective, it is difficult for the victim to obtain compensation. By law, the generic drug maker must duplicate the labels that are produced by brand name drug makers word for word. Therefore, the generic drug maker often claims that it is not their fault the warning label was deficient, because they were forced to use the label made by the maker of the brand name drug. The brand name drug maker will also deny liability, claiming that it wasn’t their drug that caused harm, so they should not be held responsible. In many cases such as this one, the cases against both the brand name drug maker and the generic maker are dismissed.

Fortunately, in this case the court allowed the case against GlaxoSmithKline to go forward. However, it is denying liability, claiming that it did not manufacture, distribute or profit from the medication which injured the deceased. It claims that holding it liable for harm caused by drugs manufactured by a generic competitor forces it into the role of insurer for the generic drug industry.

This case shows the dangers that some common prescription drugs pose to patients. Also, it shows the lengths to which drug companies will go to fight responsibility for the harm their drugs cause. Drug companies make millions and billions from the sale of prescription drugs, but when those drugs cause dangerous side effects, they will go to great lengths to fight being held liable. Drug companies may be held liable for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

If you have been injured by a dangerous prescription drug, it’s critical that you find a personal injury attorney who will fight on your behalf to hold the drug company liable. These cases may be complex, and time limitations do apply to your claim. If you are in the Oakland-San Francisco area, call Micha Star Liberty, San Francisco defective drug attorney.  At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that drug makers have a responsibility to compensate those who have been harmed by their drugs. Liberty Law works with clients throughout the Oakland-San Francisco area, including Tracy, Fairfield, Berkeley, San Jose, and the surrounding areas. Call today at 510-645-1000 or 415-896-1000 to schedule your free consultation.



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