Glaxo Don’t Want Jury To See Paxil’s “illegitimate” Suicide Figures
Yet another objection by GlaxoSmithKline in the eagerly awaited Dolin Vs GlaxoSmithKline Paxil induced suicide trial, set to begin next Tuesday in Chicago.
GSK, it appears, are now bitchin’ about evidence submitted by Wendy Dolin, the widow of Stewart Dolin, that shows how (in a previous trial) the testimony of former FDA employee Dr. Martin Brecher showed that stopping or discontinuing Paxil led to undesirable side effects. (In re Paxil, Case No. CV-01 07937 MRP (C.D. Cal.))
GSK’s objection states…
“Permitting Plaintiff Wendy Dolin to introduce Dr. Brecher’s testimony would be highly and unfairly prejudicial because the jury would be left with the incorrect impression that FDA determined that GSK’s reporting of suicides and suicide attempts in the Paxil NDA was “scientifically illegitimate.”
During Brecher’s original deposition, taken almost 14 years ago, it was learned that Brecher, whilst employed at the FDA, told Glaxo (then SmithKline Beecham) officials that “Paxil was dangerously addictive.” (1)
Glaxo are also objecting to this evidence being submitted in the Dolin trial because, “…the prior case involved a different subject matter than this case.”
Brecher, whilst under oath was also questioned about the suicide figures relating to patients taking Paxil. Here’s part of that deposition. Keyword here is “illegitimate.”
You’ll note that GSK’s attorney’s cite the same thing when Brecher is being asked questions that forms part of their objection in the Dolin case, ergo “It has absolutely nothing to do with this litigation.”
Q (by Mr. Farber): Now, you had the NDA that was submitted in November of ’89 and you took over the job in January of ’90, correct. So you had had – this is prior to the Teicher article now in January by month at least and the NDA had been submitted two months earlier. That NDA had suicide tables and data; did it not?
Q: And did you through a matter of course in your regular routine review that suicide data?
A: I believe I did.
[Objection and colloquy omitted]
Q: So the data on suicide that you had when the NDA – let’s basically — That will be Exhibit 15.
Q: Take a look at that for a minute. Ready?
Q: Now this table Roman numeral 11.21 talks about attempted suicides and overdoses, Worldwide Data. And at the bottom it indicates the Par safety summary of 10 November of 1989. And you’ll notice up in the right-hand corner of the Worldwide Data that it has all the population that we talked about earlier that you believed I was telling you the truth and I am, the one that says 2,963 under Paroxetine, 1,151 and 554 respectively for placebo; do you see that?
Q: Okay. Now, here we have attempted suicides on the top line that are further broken down into drug overdose and I’ll save you the time by figuring this out and it’s to their benefit anyway, so the drug overdose category is within the top category, it’s not – it’s not in addition to, it’s a subset of attempted suicides. And my question is the asterisk of two overdoses during the placebo run-in, you see the asterisk on the side, and of the overdoses, attempted suicide, two were – occurred during the run-in period. Let me ask you this: Based on your procedures at FDA – first of all, let – let me back up a minute. Based on your procedures at the FDA, what is a run-in period?
A: Prior to randomization subjects are discontinued from their old medication and given placebo usually for about a week, sometimes shorter.
Q: And how about wash-out, same?
A: That — that period also washes out their previous medication.
Q: So the terms are effectively synonymous for the purposes of …
A: (No verbal response.)
Q: Okay, now, based on FDA procedure and I’ll even elevate that to scientific procedure that you understood scientific procedure to be when you were at the FDA, is it scientifically legitimate to count a suicidal act occurring during wash-out and run-in to the placebo count?
[GSK COUNSEL]: Object to the form of the question. It has absolutely nothing to do with this litigation.
MR. FARBER: You’re going to see a connection if you’re patient here.
A: No, because everybody got placebo.
Q: So it’s scientifically illegitimate way to count, correct?
So, it appears that the current crop of Glaxo attorneys involved in defending Paxil in a suicide trial don’t want this evidence seen by a jury, just as the old crop of Glaxo attorneys didn’t want the jury in a Paxil addiction case to see evidence of Paxil induced suicide.
Begs the question; what exactly do Glaxo want the jury to see, just their evidence? A case of having their cake and eating it, perhaps?
The Paxil addiction lawsuit was settled out of court, over 3,000 plaintiffs received a compensatory award (figure unknown)
In the UK, consumers of Paxil (known as Seroxat) have been waiting almost 10 years to find out if they can press ahead and sue GlaxoSmithKline with regard to severe adverse reactions caused by Seroxat. In a recent pre-trial judgment the UK Plaintiffs were told that the outcome of the class action in the USA has no relevance to the UK cases. Glaxo had previously objected that the UK Courts did not need to know this. (2)
A strange judgment given that the relevance is in the word ‘Withdrawal’. Nonetheless, the UK consumers still battle on.
Opening arguments in the Dolin trial commence Tues, March 14 in Chicago. I’ll be writing daily reports on the events.