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Settlement Reached with GSK in Paxil Wrongful Death Suit

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on July 20, 2010 11:06 AM

It appears a settlement has been reached in the suit between a Watertown, South Dakota, woman and GlaxoSmithKline, makers of the drug Paxil. The plaintiff, Jennifer Berg, sued the pharmaceutical company after she claimed her use of Paxil during pregnancy was the cause of a heart defect that killed her infant son.

The Associated Press reports that letters from Berg's attorneys to the judge presiding over the case indicate a settlement has been reached. There are currently no court filings confirming a settlement. GSK has said that it expects to spend about $2.36 billion of its second quarter earnings to settle or make agreements to settle various cases over Paxil and the diabetes drug Avanida which is also the subject of multiple lawsuits.

In this case, Jennifer Berg was prescribed Paxil during her pregnancy. The AP reports that when her son Nathan was born on August 20, 2004, he had to be transferred to a Minneapolis hospital where he died a little less than two months later of Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN). PPHN is a disorder in which the blood is not properly oxygenated.

The suit says GSK failed to warn of the dangers of taking the drug Paxil while pregnant. "At the time Paxil was prescribed to Ms. Berg, GSK (GlaxoSmithKline) knew or should have known through pre-market studies and post-market studies and reports that Paxil was associated with an increased risk of PPHN in babies whose mothers ingested Paxil during pregnancy."

According to the AP, last year, a Philadelphia jury awarded $2.5 million to a woman whose son was born in October of 2005, with heart defects after she took Paxil while pregnant.

By September, 2005, the FDA began warning that Paxil may be associated with birth defects.

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