Paxil Suits by Non-Illinois Families OK in Illinois

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By Julie A. Steinberg

Aug. 29 — Non-Illinois families may pursue in Illinois their allegations that GlaxoSmithKline LLC's drug Paxil caused their children's birth defects ( M.M. v. GlaxoSmithKline LLC, 2016 BL 280136, Ill. App. Ct., No. 2014 L 006985, 8/26/16 ).

The families allege the birth defects were caused by the mothers' use of the antidepressant Paxil during pregnancy.

Illinois courts have specific jurisdiction over GSK because of its activities in the state, the Illinois Appeals Court said Aug. 26.

The plaintiffs are eight children and their mothers. Two mother-child pairs are Illinois residents.

“GSK is disappointed by the court's decision and is considering its options,” a GSK spokesperson told Bloomberg BNA.

GSK conceded it had purposefully directed its activities at the state, but denied that the plaintiffs' claims arose from those actions. The company said there was no meaningful link between the plaintiffs' claims and the small fraction of Paxil trials it conducted in Illinois.

But jurisdiction would exist even absent the company's concession, the appeals court said. The company purposefully availed itself of the state's benefits by contracting with 17 Illinois physicians to run between 18 and 21 Paxil clinical trials in Illinois as part of a study running nearly two decades.

The plaintiffs' claims arose from the drugmakers' conduct related to the clinical trials, the court said.

Plaintiffs alleged GSK failed to conduct appropriate research on Paxil and birth defects, failed to sufficiently investigate the drug for safety, manipulated data to conceal a birth defect risk and falsely affirmed that Paxil was adequately tested, the court said.

This data was aggregated with the data from other locations, and GSK drew safety conclusions from the single set of data, plaintiffs argued.

This resulted in inadequate warning labels, plaintiffs said.

TorHoerman Law LLC represented the plaintiffs.

Dentons US LLP represented GSK.

To contact the reporter on this story: Julie A. Steinberg in Washington at jsteinberg@bna.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Steven Patrick at spatrick@bna.com and Nicholas Datlowe at ndatlowe@bna.com

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