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Paxil and Wellbutrin Maker Pleads Guilty of Illegal Drug Marketing in $3 Billion Settlement

In yet another case involving a drug company accused of illegally marketing its medications for unapproved uses, GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to pay $3 billion to resolve claims it unlawfully promoted antidepressants Paxil and Wellbutrin. In the biggest single settlement of federal and state health fraud charges in U.S. history, Glaxo will plead guilty to three …

In yet another case involving a drug company accused of illegally marketing its medications for unapproved uses, GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to pay $3 billion to resolve claims it unlawfully promoted antidepressants Paxil and Wellbutrin. In the biggest single settlement of federal and state health fraud charges in U.S. history, Glaxo will plead guilty to three misdemeanor criminal charges related to the illegal drug marketing, as well as failure to provide the Food and Drug Administration with information about studies that may have shed light on safety risks associated with the diabetes drug, Avandia. If you have been injured by a pharmaceutical drug like Paxil or Wellbutrin, consult our qualified drug lawyers at Oklahoma Legal Center to explore your compensation options.

FDA Warnings for Drug Side Effects

According to the plea agreement from the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston, Glaxo has accepted the government’s terms and agreed to the massive settlement, which Deputy Attorney General Jim Cole has called “unprecedented in both size and scope.” As dictated by the plea agreement, “GSK expressly and unequivocally admits that it committed the crimes charged in the information, and is in fact guilty of those offenses.” The drug firm is set to pay $1 billion in criminal fines and another $2 billion to resolve state and federal civil fraud claims.

Although Paxil has not been approved for this use, Glaxo promoted the SSRI antidepressant as a safe and effective treatment for depression in kids and teens, despite significant evidence suggesting the opposite. In 2003 in fact, the FDA warned consumers about the use of Paxil in teens because of an increased risk of suicide. GSK also unlawfully marketed its antidepressant Wellbutrin as a treatment for conditions ranging from ADHD to obesity, even though the medication had only been approved to treat depression. The company also claimed Wellbutrin could treat the side effects of other antidepressants, including sexual dysfunction, sometimes referring to the drug as “the happy, horny, skinny pill” when touting its unapproved uses.

Contact a Drug Injury Attorney for Help

Other parts of the Glaxo settlement involve civil matters, varying from overcharging Medicaid for drugs to paying illegal kickbacks to physicians. GlaxoSmithKline acknowledged the serious problems addressed in the case and vowed to make important changes in its marketing practices. “Today brings to resolution difficult, long-standing matters for GSK,” said CEO Sir Andrew Witty. “Whilst these originate in a different era for the company, they cannot and will not be ignored. On behalf of GSK, I want to express our regret and reiterate that we have learnt from our mistakes that were made.” If you have suffered side effects that you believe to be associated with Glaxo’s Paxil or Wellbutrin, contact a drug injury attorney today to discuss your legal options. You may have grounds to file a drug injury lawsuit against Glaxo, in order to pursue compensation for your injuries and medical bills.

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