Tagged: King and spalding

Yes Bob… This Shit Really Does Just Write Itself..

Unsurprising to see the revolving door swing so wide, and how blatantly, however it’s a disturbing development nonetheless..




Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Trump Nominates King & Spalding Attorney


Who is Christopher A. Wray?

Well, he’s a litigation partner in King & Spalding’s Washington DC and Atlanta office.

And who, I hear you ask, are King & Spalding?

Well, they’re the law firm who just got spanked in Chicago. They defended GlaxoSmithKline, arguing that their antidepressant, Paxil, did not cause the suicide of Stewart Dolin.

The jury saw through the weak defence and found Glaxo liable.

Prior to joining the firm, Wray served from 2003 to 2005 as the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Criminal Division, the same department who, in 2012, slammed down a $3 billion fine after GlaxoSmithKline pleaded guilty to a whole host of federal crimes.

So, what duties does one who becomes director at the FBI have to carry out?

Well, he’s basically responsible for its day-to-day operations.

The FBI has jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crimes.

So nice to know that one of King & Spalding’s biggest and wealthiest clients, GlaxoSmithKline, may now have someone to oversee any future criminal behaviour of theirs.

This shit just writes itself.

Nice move, Don.

Bob Fiddaman


Wendy Dolin: “…GSK would stop at nothing to intimidate me…”

Reading through Bob Fiddaman’s latest post (an interview with Wendy Dolin)- I can’t help but be struck by Wendy’s admirable bravery and courage in the face of a continual onslaught of  attempted character assassinations and intimidation towards her by GlaxoSmithKline.

To say that GSK (and the money hungry, blood thirsty lawyers, academics and doctors on their payroll) are abhorrent, reprehensible and sociopathic, would be putting it very mildly.

In my opinion, GSK behave in an utterly evil manner.

They hid the side effects of Paxil (Seroxat) through manipulation of their clinical trials and data. They failed to warn properly of the dangers of Paxil induced Akathisia and suicide. They were found responsible (and liable) for Stewart Dolin’s death in a US court of law. Furthermore, despite GSK’s lawyers relentless attempts to undermine Wendy (plus her family and friends), and the attacks on Stewart’s memory,  she maintained her dignity and resolve.

Her moral and ethical strength is remarkable.

GSK could learn a lot about humanity from Wendy Dolin.

Read Bob’s latest post (below) for a poignant and moving interview with Wendy.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Exclusive: Interview With Wendy Dolin

Wendy Dolin

Wendy Dolin’s name has been cemented in history, as has that of her late husband, Stewart Dolin.

Her victory against pharmaceutical giant, GlaxoSmithKline, was never simply about Paxil causing the death of an adult. Many people in my circles already knew Paxil can and does cause akathisia and death among people of all ages. But GlaxoSmithKline and its paid experts have played down this truth for many years. Other pharmaceutical companies that manufacture SSRIs, (Pfizer-Zoloft, Eli Lilly-Prozac, etc.) have also actively concealed that akathisia is a serious adverse side effect of their products.

Wendy’s husband needlessly died as a result of GlaxoSmithKline failing to warn about akathisia. Furthermore, GSK failed to warn that akathisia can lead to suicide.

I started writing about Wendy’s case two years ago. I never knew back then the impact it would have on me as a writer, a consumer, and a human. It was inevitable that our paths would cross. Most of the stories on my blog feature real people harmed by drugs the pharmaceutical companies call “antidepressants.” These people are not fictional characters; their loved ones are not simply statistics. All are real people who, as a result of corporate greed and deceit,  lost a family member. I have personally met the majority of the families featured on my blogs, families who, through no fault of their own, have been left devastated by unimaginable, avoidable deaths. These courageous family members are left to pick up the pieces of a life obliterated by the pharmaceutical industry and its incestuous relationships with medicine regulators, such as the FDA and MHRA.

My own personal belief is that pharmaceutical CEO’s and executives should be imprisoned for withholding important safety information from consumers, particularly when withholding such critical information leads to suffering and/or death. This was surely the case in Dolin Vs GlaxoSmithKline. I also believe experts called to defend products in pharmaceutical litigation should be imprisoned if the evidence they produce at trial is shown to be false and if it is deemed perjury. One only has to look through the court transcripts in this case to see several statements by experts that were simply untrue.

Wendy, her family and close circle of friends, have remained dignified throughout the trial and pre-trial. On the other hand, the tactics of GlaxoSmithKline’s hired attorneys, King & Spalding, has been nothing short of repugnant. If their pre-trial tactics were legal, then the legal system needs a complete overhaul. Wendy’s interview today shares some of the shenanigans GSK pulled years ago before the trial began.

I have a particular disdain for King & Spalding, probably more so than GlaxoSmithKline. That disdain has been strengthened after interviewing Wendy and, of course, after being present during the first two weeks of this trial.

I think it’s safe to assume King & Spalding don’t like me either. I can live with that safe in the knowledge that I am, in essence, trying to do part of a job coroners should be doing. I try to give the dead voice. King & Spalding, it appears, not only try to stifle the voices of the living, but they also try to suppress and manipulate the voices of the dead.

I’m really proud of Wendy and her children, just as I am of others who take on the mighty pharmaceutical industry, be it through lawsuits, blogging or other advocacy work. It’s a dark, seedy world. I should know, I’ve been writing and researching about Big Pharma for more than ten years.

~ Bob Fiddaman

Here’s my interview with Wendy Dolin.

Congratulations on last week’s successful trial against GSK. You worked tenaciously since filing the case in 2014. I imagine today’s feelings of victory are bittersweet for you and your family.

Many people are unaware how traumatic the pre-trial process can be when challenging pharmaceutical companies and their attorneys. Can you share your experiences?

I knew when I filed this lawsuit, it was going to be a very difficult process. But I was unprepared for the sheer number of depositions and subpoenas GSK demanded. I was told this was a record number of requests. I understood the need for certain information, but it became very clear early on that GSK’s goal was to send a powerful message to me: That is, when you have the audacity to challenge GSK, all attempts will be made to harass everyone you care dearly about. GSK also repeatedly tried to humiliate me. For example, depositions that should have been a few hours became eight hours in an attempt to wear people down. GSK asked the same question over and over and over again hoping to manipulate, confuse and take people’s comments out of context.

Some of the irrelevant but personal questions GSK asked me included, “How many times do you go to temple? Are you dating anyone? Who are my partners at work?” They even requested Stewart’s high school transcripts. All were totally irrelevant and useless questions posed by attorneys from King and Spalding and Dentons. They were calling my friends, not identifying themselves and trying to get people to somehow say terrible things about my relationship with Stewart. There was nothing to say, of course, and GSK’s attorneys just embarrassed themselves. It became a joke amongst my friends as to who would be called next and who did GSK think they were dealing with that they thought their sweet talking female attorney was somehow going to get information?

All of these questions were offensive, but what is truly the most offensive and egregious act was showing my children Stewart’s therapy notes during depositions. As a therapist, as a mother and a compassionate human being, I am aware there was no purpose to have done such. I have talked to therapists, physicians and pharmaceutical lawyers and all agree there was nothing gained by this other than to show me that GSK would stop at nothing to intimidate me.

So, let me get this straight, attorneys for GSK telephoned your friends to try and dig up dirt on you? What sort of questions were they asking your circle of friends?

The good news regarding the phone calls is that most of my friends very shortly into the conversations realized something wasn’t quite right, and therefore they shortly ended the conversations. They asked “Do you know Wendy and Stewart Dolin?” or “What can you tell us about Wendy and Stewart Dolin’s relationship?” Most people said, “Whose side are you on?” To which, GSK attorneys replied, “You could be getting a subpoena, and that is not a very pleasant experience, so maybe you would like to tell us now what you know before the subpoenas arrived.” Several of the people GSK attorneys contacted were never, ever going to receive subpoenas but as part of my deposition, GSK wanted to know who were our closest friends and who were we with the weekend before Stewart died. What also was interesting is that GSK attorneys called my friends on their cellphones rather than their landlines. I never gave out any numbers. I don’t know for sure, but I think perhaps GSK’s attorneys naively thought they would somehow catch my friends off guard and get more info.


Thank you. The word akathisa is relatively unknown to many. Can you tell me when you first heard the word and how it related to Stewart’s death?

After Stewart, died nothing made sense. On Friday, August 13th a friend called me and said, “akathisia killed Stewart.” And of course, I replied, “What?” She suspected early on that she thought Stewart’s death was related to Paxil since that was the only thing that was different in his life that week. When I first heard the word, akathisia, I was walking my dog at the time. When I got home and wrote the word down, I decided to google “akathisia, Paxil, and suicide.” All of a sudden this wealth of information appeared.  One of the first articles that appeared was one by Dr. Peter Breggin titled “How GlaxoSmithKline Suppressed Data on Paxil-Induced Akathisia: Implications for Suicidality and Violence.” Then another article showed a connection between SSRIs and suicide and violence and included a definition of akathisia. It listed characteristics of akathisia. For the first time, what didn’t make sense now became perfectly clear. Stewart’s physical inner and outer restlessness, agitation and anxiety that I observed his last week of life now made sense. It was in this article that I first had the revelation that the drug I thought Stewart was ingesting to deal with his work related stress and anxiety instead created suicidal thoughts and actions, both of which he did not have previously.

The article went on to state that Akathisia is so terrible, “Death Can Be A Welcome Result.” This is an actual quote by Dr. Roger Lane, the chief medical officer for Pfizer. Pfizer makes Zoloft, which like Paxil, is also a SSRI. It was at that moment I knew I needed to do something to help protect others and improve public health. How can this devastating drug side effect not be unknown to most health care professionals or patients?

After learning about akathisia, did you research attorneys who might help you seek justice?

I was told that Baum Hedlund was the best law firm in the country regarding pharmaceutical litigation. I was told very early on by Baum Hedlund that the generic issue would be a large hurdle.

Moving on to MISSD. Can you tell me what MISSD is all about and why it was important to create this organisation?

When Stewart died, I wanted to start an organization to raise awareness regarding akathisia. It is incredible how the organization name came to me. So many people were saying to me how awful it is when someone dies so young and how much they will miss their loved one. I kept hearing the name “miss.” That’s how the name MISSD came to me. It stands for The Medication Induced Suicide Prevention and Education Foundation in Memory of Stewart Dolin.

After choosing the name, I gathered together close friends and family and was privileged to have the incredible Kim Witzcak as a board advisor. I have the best and most dedicated board. Since akathisia is what killed Stewart and very few people had ever heard of it, including health care providers, we decided our mission would be to educate the public regarding akathisia. The mission of MISSD is simple: To educate the public that when starting, stopping or changing a dosage of a medication like SSRI’s, the drug side effect akathisia can occur. MISSD highlights the symptoms of akathisia and what to do if you are experiencing akathisia. We are a non-profit organization and take no money from pharmaceutical companies. This is important to note because many nonprofits do take money from the pharmaceutical companies and I believe this can create an unethical relationship.

MISSD presents at local, national and international conferences. We have created a booth and have exhibited in conference halls at too numerous to count. Last year our organization created an animated video about akathisia which has received almost 15,000 hits. In addition to the educational booth, pamphlets have been produced in English and Spanish that communicate the warning signs of akathisia, and we also have power point presentations. Two months ago my incredible board members and I presented at Loyola University Graduate School of Social Work.

MISSD is obviously near and dear to my heart. MISSD has saved lives and provided comfort to many people who have experienced such terrible loss.  We have a “Share” link on our MISSD website, and I keep seeing similar stories posted over and over again. They always start out “My loved one was fine, and then, gone, out of the blue, with no explanation.” In the middle of the trial, a woman texted me stating her husband ended his life after starting Paxil. I believe he was prescribed Paxil not for depression, but in an attempt to deal with side effects from chemotherapy. As I keep hearing these real stories, it makes me more determined to spread the word of MISSD.

We are particularly interested in working with military groups given that the military suicide rate is at a record high. MISSD believes there is a correlation between the number of drug cocktails our veterans are prescribed and the increases in suicide and suicidality. In March, MISSD helped sponsor an event called “K9’s for Veterans” where I talked to more than 400 military vets and their family and friends regarding akathisia.  After I had spoken, so many people came up to me and said thank you. They said, “that happened to me” or “It happened to someone I know.” MISSD is important to my board and me because it is helping prevent needless deaths. We are all so proud and thankful for our supporters who have helped us make a positive impact. I believe MISSD is the first organization in the world to raise awareness about akathisia. We are a safe patient advocacy group. When we all realized Stewart’s death could have been prevented, MISSD was our way to take action. Our knowledge of akathisia became a defining moment in all of our lives. We had to share this side effect so that the public can be better informed than we were.

What sort of response have you had from the launch of MISSD, have you come across any opposition from regulators or pharmaceutical companies?

No opposition from any regulators. At one point in my lawsuit, GSK wanted information on my board members, donators and GSK attorneys (either Andy Bayman or Todd Davis) presented print outs from our MISSD website. They wanted MISSD to be explored. Judge Zagel promptly stated MISSD was out of the lawsuit. The fact that GSK was worried about MISSD was gratifying because it confirmed we were shedding light on a subject they preferred to keep hidden.

The recently released MISSD video surely helps spotlight akathisia. What has been the overall response from the video?

Fantastic. We realized that if we were going to present to schools, hospitals, etc., we needed a powerful educational tool. We wanted a tool that was simple, short, and to the point. The video is creative and state of the art. Wherever we show the video, it is always very well received. It has been incredibly gratifying how well we have been received by the public. I think this is due in part because MISSD is not anti-drug, it is simply dedicated to raising awareness of akathsia and saving lives. Our mission resonates with so many people. Everything MISSD does is done very professionally, and we are viewed as a very important safe patient organization. Our initial fundraiser was primarily attended by friends, family members and associates of our board members. This is no longer the case. Today MISSD events are well attended, and I meet many new people for the first time at every event. They explain that they first found MISSD online as an important resource after their loved one died from prescription drug-induced akathisia. The families of akathisia victims who attend MISSD events come from all backgrounds and all parts of the country. We usually have more than 300 people at each event.

You’ve had many people visit Chicago from across the world, some of them also have tragic stories regarding the loss of loved ones due to prescription drug-induced akathisia. When did you realise the extent of this problem? 

When Kim Witczak presented the Selling Sickness conference in Washington, D.C. in 2013, I met many people, such as Mathy Downing and Sara Bostock, who lost loved ones to akathisia. This was important as I started to realize I was certainly not alone.

Later when I spoke in Copenhagen with Kim and Mathy and met Steffini Lynch and Leonie Donnelly, it further emphasized this was a universal problem. Recently as the MISSD presence has expanded, I realize that through our website many people have come to Chicago to MISSD events and found comfort and support from the mission of MISSD.

The jury unanimously agreed that GlaxoSmithKline is liable for not updating the Paxil label regarding the increased suicide risk created when adults take Paxil. In essence, the jury stated they believe, after hearing all the evidence presented by both sides, that Paxil caused Stewart’s suffering and death. Furthermore, the jury believes GlaxoSmithKline knew about these potential risks yet failed to warn consumers.

During the trial it came to light that 22 patients died in Paxil clinical trials, 20 of these died by suicide, and the other two deaths are suspected to be suicides. All 22 victims were taking Paxil at the time, and 80% of these patients were over the age of 30. GSK likes to argue that it was an “illness” that caused these deaths and not Paxil. What would you say to the surviving family members of these clinical trial victims if you had a chance to meet them?

That is a great question because it brings up so many issues. GSK talks at length about underlying illness. Yes, there are people that kill themselves because they have had a lifelong history of mental health issues. They struggle and medications have been life-saving in many situations. However, when you talk to love ones of people who died from akathisia you hear from many of them that the drugs were prescribed for issues such as insomnia, test anxiety, or situational stress. The drug companies seem to want to pathologize what it means just to be human.

During the trial, my sister sat through opening arguments and texted me, “I don’t know who they are talking about.” GSK tried to create a view of Stewart that quite frankly didn’t exist. But specifically, regarding prescription drug-induced suicides, I would tell the surviving family members to realize the death was not the fault of their loved one.  People sometimes say that when someone ends their life, it was their choice. I am not sure that that is a correct statement either. But death by akathisia is not a choice. It is not a suicide. It is a fatal drug reaction.

Additionally, I would tell surviving family members to get involved. There is a favorite quote of mine from the anthropologist Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Talk to others, spread the word regarding akathisia, contact government agencies. As we learned from this lawsuit, GSK blamed the FDA; We need to be proactive and contact our regulatory agencies to say inadequate warnings are just not acceptable. What this lawsuit has shown is that akathisia is a real, legitimate adverse drug reaction. The public needs to be aware of akathisia signs and symptoms.

Do you have any advice for consumers who are considering pharmaceutical industry litigation?

I think the person has to be aware that this process is emotionally and physically difficult. In addition to having the necessary courage and conviction, it is imperative to have top lawyers. My lawyers from Baum Hedlund and David Rapoport were incredible. They are professional and highly knowledgable. But they are also amazing human beings who understand the injustice that was done to Stewart. Our work together felt less like a lawsuit and more like a personal journey and commitment shared by all of us.

We know Glaxo is appealing the verdict. This means the funds the jury award for Stewart’s avoidable death and suffering will be held until the appeal process is finished. There have been a few online comments left on media articles in which a few posters have suggested this trial is just about money. How do you respond to people who suggest such?

I always want to respect people’s divergent opinions, and I can understand from the outside looking in one interpretation of the lawsuit might be that is about money. However, this notion is furthest from the truth. I would hope these individuals actually understood what critical information was highlighted in this trial because this information affects their lives as well as Stewart’s. I hope people would educate themselves regarding drug safety, drug studies, the role of the FDA, generics, etc. The vast majority of people have had very, very positive reactions to the verdict. There will always be people who disagree, and that is their prerogative.

I knew from the moment this lawsuit was filed that GSK was always concerned that this was a generic drug.  I was told before we even went to trial, that, if GSK lost, they would appeal. In fact, I believe there was a lawyer in the courtroom for GSK that was there for the sole purpose of  gathering information to start the appeal process. Appeals take several years and, of course, I could lose on appeal. It has been suggested that GSK wants to take this case to the Supreme Court because they are so afraid of what this guilty verdict means. As it stands, the legal ramifications for this verdict are so damaging for pharmaceutical companies that reaching the Supreme Court is very possible. That could take 5-7 years.

Clearly this case has never been about money. For me, it has always been about awareness, highlighting akathisia and ultimately changing the black box warning to include all ages. If those individuals who think this case is about money actually read the entire articles, they would learn about MISSD and all the work I do to increase akathisia awareness. While I am eternally grateful to the generosity of our supporters, I have also used my own resources to help educate the public about akathisia. I do this in honor of Stewart and to help others avoid similar tragedy.

Thank you, Wendy.

Please, if there is anything you want to say to the readers of my blog, feel free to do so.

I am so grateful to the overwhelming support of many people from all over the world. A special thanks to you, Bob, for all you have done over the past years to raise awareness of drug side effects, specifically akathisia, and my lawsuit. You have devoted so much of your time and resources to this case, and I am eternally honored by your efforts. You are remarkable. Thank you so much.


What is Akathisia? (Short Educational Video)


Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman

Rapoport Law Offices, P.C

Dolin Vs GSK Paxil Trial Court Transcripts

Dolin v. GSK Paxil Trial Exhibits

Dolin Vs GSK Blog Coverage

Dolin v GSK – Opening Arguments

Dolin Vs GSK – Day Two – “Jack-In-The-Box”

Dolin vs GSK – Healy ‘Rocks Da House’

Dolin Vs GSK – JP Garnier Video Deposition

Dolin Vs GSK – The Dunbar Tape

Dolin Vs GSK – Day 4 – Slam Dunk

Dolin Vs GSK – 8.9 Suicide Increase For Adult Paxil Users

Dolin Vs GSK – Day 6 – Ass Kicking Semantics

Dolin Vs GSK – Day 7 – Abraham Lincoln

Dolin Vs GSK – Day 8 – Get to the Point, Todd!

Dolin Vs GSK – Glenmullen Nails It!

Dolin Vs GSK – “Babes”

Dolin Vs GSK – Wendy’s Cross and GSK’s Petition

Dolin Vs GSK – Robert “Bling Bling” Gibbons

Dolin Vs GSK: Suicide Prevention Warning “Futile”, Claims GSK Exec

Dolin Vs GSK : Jury shown List of the Dead in Paxil Clinical Trials

Dolin Vs GSK: Last Man Standing & The Return of Dr. Healy

Dolin Vs GSK: Closing Arguments

Dolin Vs GSK – The Verdict

King And Spalding And Their Criminal Clients GlaxoSmithKrime


You may remember this story from last November when it first hit the news. But in the 60 Minutes interview above, whistleblower Cheryl Eckard opens up to reveal even more disturbing details about the gross negligence at the Cidra pharmaceutical plant, run by one of GlaxoSmithKline’s subsidiaries.

They eventually pleaded guilty to the felony crime of distributing adulterated drugs, yet not one single person in charge of the debacle went to jail!

Why Should We Trust Felons?

Once you’ve been exposed to the seedy underbelly of the drug business—the LEGAL drug business—you can’t but realize that we’re dealing with a very large group of criminals and felons. There’s really no nicer way to put it.

After all, companies are run by human beings. Company logos don’t make decisions by themselves.


(January 18, 2011 Mercola)

A Chinese police investigation into drug maker GlaxoSmithKline has discovered that alleged bribery of doctors in China was co-ordinated by the British company and was not the work of individual employees, state media reported on Tuesday.

Police in July detained four senior Chinese executives at GSK over allegations the company funnelled up to 3 billion yuan (HK$3.8 billion) to travel agencies to facilitate bribes to doctors and officials to boost the sale of its medicines.

“It is becoming clear that it is organised by GSK China rather than … sales people’s individual behaviour,” the official Xinhua news agency reported.

(September 3, 2013)

GSK have paid billions in fines for fraud, bribery and general criminality which led (in some cases) to deaths of men, women, children and babies. One of their lead lawyers, Todd P Davis, seems to think nothing of defending companies like GSK against birth defects liabilities, anything for a quick buck eh Todd?

Todd P

Todd works for the King and Spalding law firm. Nice job role Todd- defending convicted felons who think nothing of concealing side effects that kill babies and kids… you must sleep well at night?

King And Spalding are desperately trying to discredit Dr David Healy because David has been speaking out against GSK’s atrocious behavior for almost two decades now (see Fiddaman’s blog and my post).

Leonie Fennell has written a blog about all this too- it’s well worth checking out-


David and Goliath Glaxo..

David and Goliath/GSK

GlaxoSmithKline is a UK based pharmaceutical company with a very evil history. This has shown itself time and again in a litany of dubious actions and the pushing of equally dubious medications. In one instance, an FDA Scientist, David Graham, estimated that GSK’s diabetes drug, Avandia, may have caused as many as 100,000 heart attacks, strokes and deaths. Finally in 2011, the European Medicines Agency banned Avandia, ordering it to be taken completely off the market. GSK were found to have been aware of the risks, but hid the real ‘data’, publishing their own version – hiding the deaths.

In 2012 GSK came to the attention of the world’s media once again, this time for paying the largest fine in the history of Big Pharma – a whopping 3 Billion Dollars. Besides hiding Avandia data, GSK also admitted to bribing doctors and encouraging them to prescribe their antidepressant Paxil/Seroxat to children, all the while knowing that it caused suicidality in all ages; many children and adults died.

David Healy et al have recently brought Glaxo back into the spotlight – kicking and screaming ‘foul’ I might add. Last month’s revelation in the British Medical Journal Restoring Study 329: efficacy and harms of paroxetine and imipramine in treatment of major depression in adolescence proved once again that GSK hid data which showed that Paxil caused suicide in children. The re-analysis of ‘Study 329’ once again found huge discrepancies; another attempt by GSK to hide bodies, this time little children.

Don’t shoot the messenger:

So what have GSK decided to do? Hold their hands up? Come clean? Apologise for the deception? Grovel to the parents and families left behind? Nope! GSK is now attempting to discredit the messenger, Dr David Healy, who just happens to be an Irishman and a genius to boot (I’ve seen him in action). It’s perhaps not a coincidence that he’s one of the few phychopharmacology experts in the world with the credibility and knowledge to challenge any pharmaceutical company, particularly on antidepressant drugs.

Dolin v. SmithKline Beecham:

David Healy is the expert witness in an on-going trial against GSK (Dolin v. SmithKline Beecham), a case concerning the death of Steward Dolin, a corporate lawyer in Chicago. Stewart jumped in front of a train 6 days after starting Paxil/Seroxat. We had the pleasure of meeting Stewart’s lovely wife Wendy (who is taking the case) last month in Copenhagen. What she said about GSK’s carry-on would make your hair stand on end; as if she hasn’t been through enough hell, but hey, never say GSK  couldn’t sink any lower. They usually do!

According to Bob Fiddaman, GSK put forward a motion that David Healy “should not be allowed to give evidence in the trial, he’s not credible, he has a bias, he’s telling people to go out and kill”. Seriously? Toys and pram spring to mind.

Grown men actually put their heads together and came up with the latter. It’s probably why women should rule the world, but I suppose that’s a story for another day. Other fairly nefarious allegations by GSK include – Healy has implied that people who have lost loved ones due to alleged drug side effects would take violent revenge against pharmaceutical executives. Japers, better make sure we don’t all go on a collective rampage. Idiots!

As Fiddaman said “Healy’s deposition was supposed to be about science, in actual fact GSK’s attorneys chose, for at least 90% of the 10 hours, to talk about Healy’s blog, his financial accounts, and every other avenue that they could think of – rather than deal with the science.” The distracting hand was at it again eh?

For more comprehensive reading – see Bob Fiddaman’s Blog and Mr Antidepaware.

The Big Pharma Business Model: Deception And Bribery

It’s déjà vu all over again. Remember how, three years ago, Pfizer paid $2.3 billion to the Department of Justice to settle off-label claims relating to Bextra and other drugs, and Eli Lilly paid $1.4 billion for Zyprexa marketing?

If so, then last week was no surprise: GlaxoSmithKline agreed to pay a whopping $3 billion to settle criminal and civil charges brought against it by the Department of Justice. Quoting from the DOJ press release, GlaxoSmithKline was accused of:

  • distributing a misleading medical journal article that misreported that a clinical trial of Paxil demonstrated efficacy in the treatment of depression in patients under age 18,
  • GSK did not make available data from two other studies in which Paxil also failed to demonstrate efficacy in treating depression in patients under 18.
  • GSK sponsored dinner programs, lunch programs, spa programs and similar activities to promote the use of Paxil in children and adolescents.
  • GSK paid millions of dollars to doctors to speak at and attend meetings, sometimes at lavish resorts, at which the off-label uses of Wellbutrin were routinely promoted and also used sales representatives, sham advisory boards, and supposedly independent Continuing Medical Education (CME) programs to promote Wellbutrin for these unapproved uses.
  • GSK failed to include certain safety data about Avandia, a diabetes drug, in reports to the FDA that are meant to allow the FDA to determine if a drug continues to be safe for its approved indications and to spot drug safety trends.   The missing information included data regarding certain post-marketing studies, as well as data regarding two studies undertaken in response to European regulators’ concerns about the cardiovascular safety of Avandia.
  • GSK promoted Avandia to physicians and other health care providers with false and misleading representations about Avandia’s safety profile … GSK stated that Avandia had a positive cholesterol profile despite having no well-controlled studies to support that message. The United States also alleges that the company sponsored programs suggesting cardiovascular benefits from Avandia therapy despite warnings on the FDA-approved label regarding cardiovascular risks.
  • GSK paid kickbacks to health care professionals to induce them to promote and prescribe these drugs [Paxil, Wellbutrin, Avandia, Advair, Lamictal, and Zofran] as well as the drugs Imitrex, Lotronex, Flovent and Valtrex.

Let’s call GlaxoSmithKline what it is: a criminal enterprise. GSK didn’t miss the finer points of a couple red-tape regulations: the DOJ alleged they tampered with scientific studies, concealed safety data, then lied to doctors and patients and, if that didn’t work, outright bribed the doctors. Why?  For Wellbutrin, the purpose was to sell psychoactive drugs to kids that were known to be useless in treating depression, but which had a plethora of side effects, including, quoting the label:

headache, insomnia, dizziness, tremor, somnolence, thinking abnormality, abnormal dreams, sleep abnormalities, … depersonalization, emotional lability, hostility, suicidal ideation, aggression, delusions, euphoria, hallucinations, manic reaction, nightmares, paranoid ideation, delirium, psychosis, organic mental disorders, catatonia, restlessness, and completed suicide, … palpitation, cardiac arrhythmias, hypertension (in some cases severe), hypotension, syncope, tachycardia.

For Avandia, the point was to trick diabetics into taking a drug — a drug for which a number of safer alternatives were available, including lifestyle changes and no medicine at all — that “causes or exacerbate congestive heart failure in some patient” and creates a “statistically significant increased risk of myocardial infarction.” That’s on the warning label now, but it wasn’t when most of the marketing was going on, even though GSK knew about the problems.

These aren’t placebos. The side effects aren’t just an upset stomach or nausea. You know what happens when you sue a drug company over a prescription medication? They claim that all prescription drugs are “unavoidably dangerous,” so dangerous that plaintiffs shouldn’t even be allowed to file strict liability or defective design, or failure-to-test lawsuits, because the courts should presume these drugs necessarily kill people. Yet, while it was arguing in court that its drugs were “unavoidably dangerous,” GSK thought it was just fine to prey upon parents’ anxieties about their children’s mental health and diabetics’ fears of crashing or going into shock if they could make a couple billion dollars out of it.

So people are going to jail, right? This is, after all, America, the county with the highest per capita prison population in the world, where the Supreme Court has said you can get strip-searched for riding your bicycle without a bell, where the federal government can send you to jail for growing marijuana in your backyard for your own medicinal use even if your state permits it, where you can be tasered for back-talking to a cop in a traffic stop as long as they don’t taser you “excessively,” where a judge can send you to jail for six months for smiling in court. If we can find some reason to throw you in jail, we’ll take it.

Unless, of course, the defendant did the deed in service of a big corporation. No one at GlaxoSmithKline is under any threat of prosecution. The Department of Justice brought obstruction of justice charges against GlaxoSmithKline’s in-house lawyer for allegedly concealing information in the Wellbutrin investigation, but the prosecution was a failure, resulting in the judge dismissing it before even submitting it to a jury. If that specific information was so important that concealing it was a crime, then why weren’t the initial concealers prosecuted for hiding it from the FDA and the medical community?

So actual prison time, even just the threat of prosecution, for selling people deadly snake oil is out the window. Even the $3 billion is less than it seems, too; calling it a “slap on the wrist” isn’t quite right, but it is by no means real punishment, perhaps more a whisternefet. The money is all being paid by GlaxoSmithKline, not by the employers, officers or directors involved, so it does nothing to deter future drug company employees from doing exactly the same thing — which we know they will, given that this settlement is just the latest in a long string of massive settlements involving all of the big names in pharmaceuticals, including Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Merck, you name it. This headline from the Guardian says it all: “Pharma overtakes arms industry to top the league of misbehaviour.”

We could complain that the wrongdoers at GSK are walking free as a result of paying other people’s money (i.e., the shareholders’ money), but, as the Guardian article points out:

Despite the large fine, $3bn is far less than the profits made from the drugs. Avandia has made $10.4bn in sales, Paxil took $11.6bn, and Wellbutrin sales were $5.9bn during the years covered by the settlement …

The shareholders thus aren’t going to complain at all; GSK is doing exactly what they asked them to do: it’s making money. As Robert Reich points out, “the penalty could almost be considered a cost of doing business.” There’s a reason you can walk down any urban street in the middle of the day and see UPS and FedEx trucks illegally stopped in the middle of the road doing deliveries: delivery companies just consider the tickets a cost of doing business.

That’s the new pharmaceutical company business model: lie, cheat, and bribe your way into billions of dollars. Play upon the fact that doctors are clueless about “off-label prescriptions,” so that, every year, more than 100 million off-label prescriptions with “little or no scientific support” are written. All a pharmaceutical company has to do is set up some baloney expenses-paid conference in Vail or St. Croix or dispatch some sales representative to the doctor’s office — or, if all that fails, just write a check — and, voilà, millions of patients will be prescribed an expensive, useless and dangerous drug for an “off label” purpose unapproved by the FDA.

What’s the worst that could happen to the company? They pay a toll, sign on for a meaningless “Corporate Integrity Agreement” that will do more to shield future perpetrators than to deter them, and then get back to the business of loading people up with dangerous drugs they don’t need.

[Update: Coincidentally, today USA Today has an editorial saying the same thing, while Avvo VP & General Counsel Josh King has a rebuttal. King’s article is at best naive: saying we shouldn’t have criminal prosecutions of corporate executives because “the vast majority of executives want to do the right thing” is like saying we shouldn’t prosecute homicide because “the vast majority of people aren’t murderers.” Update II: Scott Greenfield chimes in as well. Regular readers will be shocked to learn he disagrees with me.]

Paxil Suicide: Stuart Dolin: GSK Playing Dirty Again?

From The Bob Fiddaman “Seroxat Sufferers” Blog

(See link for full story)


Stewart Dolin killed himself in 2010 by jumping in front of a train in Chicago. His wife, Wendy, filed suit alleging that Paxil had caused her husband to develop akathisia, a condition that causes psychological agitation.

GSK argued that Dolin was taking the generic version of Paxil marketed and manufactured by Mylan, ergo they were not responsible for the drug inducing suicide. However, a  U.S. District Judge told Mylan that they would not have to face any trial but said Glaxo was responsible for the generic drug’s design and warning label and would have to face negligence claims.

Bitter, Glaxo then went on to subpoena Wendy Dolin’s cellphone and text message records, her home phone and her late husband’s company phone. So far, GSK have sent more than 30 subpoenas and over 70 records requests, and shown the Dolin children their father’s confidential therapy notes despite Wendy Dolin’s objections. According to Wendy Dolin’s motion GSK have also questioned her about romantic life since her husband’s death. Quite why they have questioned her about her life after her husband’s death is beyond me. It does, however, show how low GSK, and their multi-million dollar law firm that represent them, will stoop to defend yet another Paxil suicide.

If all this wasn’t enough, GSK have now, it appears, twisted the knife further into the stomach of Wendy Dolin by attempting to push the trial’s start date into 2016.

Law 360 (Subscription) are reporting that GSK’s attorneys, King & Spalding, have told an Illinois federal judge that they don’t have time to prepare, this, despite the case being filed over four years ago. King & Spalding are claiming that they are working on two other cases and don’t have time to prepare themselves for the Dolin case.

I can’t quite get to grips with GSK’s apparent disdain for Wendy Dolin nor the lack of respect they are clearly not showing regarding the memory of Stewart Dolin.

I’ve gone on record many times stating that I do not like GSK or their attorneys, King & Spalding. I do not like the way they operate nor do I like what they each try to suppress regarding items of discovery (You really do need to read the Joanne Thomas articles to see exactly what they try to suppress)

As for GSK trying to blame Mylan, well, that doesn’t really surprise me. Mylan sold Paxil under a generic name and Glaxo conveniently forgot to tell them about warning potential patients that Paxil may cause suicide. It’s akin to a car salesperson selling you a car and failing to mention that the brakes don’t work!

A pretty decent analogy given that earlier this year it was revealed that General Motors Co.’s emails with King & Spalding LLP and other outside counsel show the automaker engaged in a “massive cover-up” to hide its deadly ignition switch defect. (Source)

Wendy Dolin is represented by Michael L. Baum, Bijan Esfandiari, Frances M. Phares and R. Brent Wisner of Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman PC and Joshua Weisberg and Lindsey Epstein of Rapoport Law Offices PC.

GSK is represented by Alan S. Gilbert and Melissa A. Economy of Dentons and Andrew T. Bayman, Todd P. Davis and Christopher R. Benson of King & Spalding LLP.

Bob Fiddaman.

Bob Fiddaman Draws Attention To Paxil (Seroxat) Birth Defect Litigation…

Great post from Seroxat Sufferers Blog..

Tuesday, April 08, 2014


Ryan, Glaxo’s Non-Viable Fetus – Part I

Joanne Thomas, disputes Glaxo’s claim that her fetus was “non-viable”
Disputes the Statute of Limitations Defence used by Glaxo’s attorneys.


The following is probably one of the most complex posts I have ever written. It’s been months in the making, it’s been chopped, changed, edited, re-edited and even circulated among attorneys before finally making publication here today.

I’ve tried to simplify things as much of what is contained has to do with points of law, to be more specific, Pennsylvania law.

It’s fair to say that corresponding and speaking with Joanne Thomas has been eye-opening, to say the least.

The law is the law and cases like this expose its ludicrousness.

This is the story of Joanne Thomas and her unborn child, Ryan. It’s part I of II and is leading up to some pretty startling revelations regarding GlaxoSmithKline and their lawyers, King & Spalding.

Everyone is entitled to a good defence team, even GlaxoSmithKline has that right. If I was to ever step into law I’d rather work for a prosecution team, you know, go after the bad guys and not defend them when I know they have done wrong.

I’d love to be able to bring back people from the dead too, children and adults, you know those ones who had their lives cut short through no fault of their own, those who were not forewarned that their actions could, ultimately, lead to their premature deaths.

Wouldn’t it be great if we, after death, did meet up with those that had passed before us. Whether we actually do or not is just a belief, one of hope.

This post is about those who didn’t have a chance to walk the earth, who, through no fault of their own, were introduced to medicine before they were born. This post is also about GlaxoSmithKline and their highly paid defence lawyers and just how far they go to keep their name and products intact. It’s about how they hold on to their coffers because to simply compensate a mother who aborts a fetus that was malformed due to Paxil  (Known as Seroxat in Europe and Aropax in Australia and NZ) ingestion is not a road that Glaxo or their attorneys wish to go down. They use every trick [lawfully] in the book, blame everyone and everything. They operate within a law that gives them the upper hand, that, I believe, allows them to twist a knife in the gut of a mother who has already lost something so precious, the life of a child.

Their abject denial at something so abhorrent as a life dying before it has had a chance at living sickens me. Their defence of Paxil [paroxetine] causing birth defects or forcing the arm of a pregnant mother to abort sickens me too.

Here’s an insight into how GlaxoSmithKline and it’s lawyers operate. I am posting this because not many people truly understand what we are dealing with here. It’s a post that has taken a number of months to piece together, it’s a post that highlights the tenacity of a mother driven to seek justice on her own because the law has failed her. I’d like to thank Joanne Thomas for her patience and all those who worked behind the scenes and who offered advice and support to Joanne during this difficult time.

Ryan, Glaxo’s non-viable fetus

Joanne Thomas fell pregnant in 2000, during the course of which Joanne was taking 40mg of Paxil. Back in 2000 Paxil was classed as a Category C drug (Animal studies have shown an adverse effect and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Or No animal studies have been conducted and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women.), in other words Paxil, according to the FDA, may or may not cause birth defects, there was no definitive answer. In order to classify the risk to the fetus, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) established five categories to indicate the potential of a drug which crosses the placenta to cause birth defects.

The timeline is important in this particular birth defect case as we shall see.

Joanne was sent to have an echo cardiogram by her obstetrician after a routine ultrasound.

The ultrasound had found that Ryan, Joanne’s chosen name for her unborn child, had echogenic bowels and one kidney. They were unable to verify if there were issues with his heart as they could not get a good visual. An appointment was then made for Joanne to see her pediatric cardiologist.

During the echocardiogram performed on April 23, 2001, the pediatric cardiologist estimated fetal gestational age to be 22½ weeks, and notified Joanne that her baby had severe congenital heart defects. It was unknown, at the time, what caused the fetal abnormalities and Joanne was referred for another appointment some 5 to 6 weeks later.

3 days later, however, Joanne decided to abort. The fetal death certificate estimated gestational age to be 21½ weeks, which was one week different to the pediatric cardiologist’s estimation.

In one of many conversations with Joanne, she told me, “What scared me was when the cardiologist drew what a normal heart looks like and another drawing of Ryan’s. That is when I was told he most likely would not be able to take his first breath. He would be intubated [placement of a flexible plastic tube into the trachea] immediately, and flown to a specialty hospital for heart surgery…if he survived.”

Joanne saved the drawing that her cardiologist drew and has kindly passed it on to me.

Sketch of Ryan’s heart defects drawn by Joanne’s Pediatric Cardiologist

Joanne put this behind her as much as she could, she never, during the following years, made any connection to heart defects and Paxil. Why would she? At the time there was no warning.

In 2006 whilst studying her nursing boards she ran across items that suggested that Paxil had now been re-categorized by the FDA. They had moved it from a ‘C’ to a ‘D’ (Studies, adequate well-controlled or observational, in pregnant women have demonstrated a risk to the fetus. However, the benefits of therapy may outweigh the potential risk.)

Shocked, Joanne decided to ring the GSK Consumer hotline. According to court documents she asked a GSK representative manning the line if Paxil was a Cat C or D drug, she was incorrectly told that Paxil was a “Category C” drug.

Further investigation by Joanne confirmed that Paxil had indeed been moved from a Category C to D drug.

It was at this point that Joanne filed her Short Form Complaint [September 2007], alleging her Paxil ingestion during pregnancy caused her son, Ryan Swindle’s wrongful death. It was to be part of a class action lawsuit against GSK.

GSK, via their highly paid law firm, King & Spalding, moved for summary judgment. They argued that Joanne’s claims should be dismissed for two fundamental reasons. First, Joanne could not bring a wrongful death or survival action because her fetus was non viable at her therapeutic abortion. (Non viable means not capable of living, growing, or developing and functioning successfully. It is antithesis of viable, which is defined as having attained such form and development of organs as to be normally capable of living outside the uterus. (1))

This is where GSK’s law team really earned their corn. This from one of the court documents:

GSK argues as a matter of law there must be either [1] a child born alive; or [2] a viable fetus, capable of an independent existence at death. (2)  Under Pennsylvania law, viability occurs no earlier than 23 weeks gestational age. (3) Relying on Plaintiff’s fetal death certificate, GSK argued she cannot sustain a wrongful death or survival action because she [was] at 21½ weeks, before viability occurred.

Next, GSK argued even if the fetus was viable when aborted, any claim would be barred under Pennsylvania’s two year statute of limitations because Plaintiff filed her action November 27, 2007, more than 6 years [after] its death. GSK contends the two-year period commenced on the day Ryan Swindle died, regardless of when survivors knew, or should have known, cause of death. 

Let’s tackle GSK’s first argument.

Firstly, there was two estimations on the age of the fetus.

  • Joanne’s pediatric cardiologist estimated fetal gestational age to be 22½ weeks.
  • The fetal death certificate estimated gestational age to be 21½ weeks

Why were Glaxo allowed to pick the one age that best suited their argument?

Let’s say, for argument sake, that GSK were wrong and the actual age was what the pediatric cardiologist estimated (22½ weeks). According to Pennsylvania law the fetus still wasn’t viable. Remember these are just estimations, they are not, and never have been, set in stone yet Glaxo used this to their advantage.

Secondly, they argue “even if the fetus was viable when aborted, any claim would be barred under Pennsylvania’s two year statute of limitations because Plaintiff filed her action November 27, 2007, more than 6 years [after] its death.”

So, isn’t this like saying we committed a murder but you didn’t know it was us during your first two years of mourning. The fact you found out it was us (some years later) holds no water because the two year statute of limitations covers our ass?

I guess all those investigating the 1888 murders of Jack the Ripper should give up. It’s a pointless, dare I say it, futile exercise, according to the Glaxo mantra that is. Let’s abolish all the cold case files whilst we’re at it.

At a fetal age of 20 weeks here’s what was probably going on inside Joanne Thomas. I just want Glaxo’s lawyers to be aware of this.
  • Ryan would have reacted to loud sounds.
  • Ryan would have started having a regular sleeping and waking rhythm.
  • Joanne’s movements could have woke Ryan.
  • Taste buds were forming on Ryan’s tongue.
  • Ryan was around 28cm long (crown to heel) and probably weighed around 450 grams.
Non viable huh?

Furthermore, if GSK argued that Joanne’s fetus was non viable what does this say about the following claim taken from the fetal development website baby2see.com.

You are 20 weeks pregnant. (fetal age 18 weeks)

Your baby now weighs about 11 ounces and at roughly 7 inches long they are filling up more and more of the womb. Though still small and fragile, the baby is growing rapidly and could possibly survive if born at this stage.

Glaxo claimed the fetus was 21½ weeks, let’s say they were correct. They argued that 21½ weeks meant that the fetus was non-viable. Let’s see what the fetal development website baby2see.com have to say about a fetus at 21 weeks.

You are 23 weeks pregnant. (fetal age 21 weeks)

If born now, your baby would have a 20% chance of survival, the odds going up with each passing day. By this week, your baby weighs a little over 1 pound (500g). Its crown to heel length is 11 inches (28cm).

20% chance of survival, yet Glaxo dismissed this. Joanne fetus had a 20% chance of survival ergo she terminated when Ryan had a 20% chance of life. These odds were drastically reduced because Ryan had developed  a rare congenital heart disease that was caused by the Paxil she was taking.

The court disagreed and sided with GSK’s argument in July 2012. Joanne’s case was lost on the grounds of the non-viability issue and the statute of limitations issue. Glaxo also successfully argued that the child either must be born alive or it must be a viable fetus, capable of an independent existence at death. Joanne appealed the decision but in Nov 2013 a three-judge Superior Court panel agreed that a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court judge was correct in July 2012 to issue summary judgment to GlaxoSmithKline.

Grounds for a second appeal seemed futile until Joanne wrote me and we spoke for many hours discussing her case. It appeared that Joanne, without actually knowing it, was someone who many lawyers and advocates had been trying to hunt down for years.

In cases like Joanne’s the plaintiff bears the burden of proof and must demonstrate fraudulent concealment by clear, precise, and convincing evidence.

In Part two I shall, on behalf of Joanne, try to present that evidence.

GSK’s company tagline is “We are a leading healthcare company that helps people to do more, feel better and live longer”

Coming up in Part II

  • How Glaxo knew about the possible birth defect risk many years ago but failed to act.
  • I unearth new evidence that shows, I believe, how Glaxo’s statute of limitation defence holds no water.
  • The link between Joanne’s birth defect case and the Kilker v GlaxoSmithKline birth defect case.
  • Did Glaxo and/or their attorneys, King & Spalding, hold back items of discovery from Joanne’s law team and the presiding Judge?
  • I contact Joanne’s law team with new evidence, they submit an appeal to the Supreme Court.
  • Glaxo U-Turn – An offer is made to Joanne Thomas after an appeal is submitted to the Supreme Court, an offer which, after much consideration, Joanne rejected.
Bob Fiddaman