The Todd Stance
Oh Todd, oh Todd, oh Todd,
you make us feel so weary.
Your questioning of Stewart’s doctor
really is quite dreary.
So, GSK’s warning letter
is the crux of your defence?
It’s not logical or rational;
it simply makes no sense.
You say you warned the doctors
of Paxil’s suicide risk.
Yet Andy Bayman denies this claim,
like a repeating compact disc.
Adults are perfectly safe, he states:
It’s just kids who should be warned.
But your former CEO confirms
it’s your duty to inform.
You can keep your fancy haircut, Todd,
and expensive Armani suit.
You can keep your sense of what’s right and wrong
in this wrongful death lawsuit.
You can keep your lack of due care
and misleading words of warning.
We know Paxil causes death, you see,
and leaves families deep in mourning.
Bob Fiddaman ~ 2017
Day 8 of the Dolin Vs GSK Paxil-induced suicide trial saw Stewart Dolin’s physician and long-time friend, Dr. Marty Sachman, take the stand.
Sachman was first questioned by David Rappaport, one of the attorneys representing Wendy Dolin (Stewart’s widow).
The jury heard more about Stewart Dolin, the man, and less about the fact that GlaxoSmithKline concealed Paxil’s propensity to induce suicidality. Sachman told the jury, “Stew was a very reserved, quiet, intelligent, loving man. I never heard him raise his voice over our 25-year relationship. We were like brothers. We spent weekends together, travel together. He was my closest friend. A loving person and a loving family man.”
Sachman was also questioned about Stewart Dolin’s anxiety, which, according to the doctor, was a result of work-related issues. He told the jury that he never thought Stewart was depressed and that Stewart always responded to the treatment he gave him from 2005-2010. On each occasion, after Sachman prescribed Stewart drugs, he would warn him of the side effects and, once Stewart felt better, would wean him off the prescription.
Two days before Stewart’s Paxil-induced death, Sachman and Stewart attended a memorial service for the father of their mutual friend. Later that evening Sachman, Stewart and Wendy went to dinner together. Sachman was asked to describe what he remembered about Stewart that night. He answered, “His demeanor was, as usual, our conversation was as usual. He was calm.”
Sachman then recounted his “absolute shock” upon hearing the news of Stewart’s death. He told the jury, “I just think that we depend on honesty in reporting research and data. How can we treat people effectively and safely if we can’t depend on that?”
Rappaport then asked Sachman about the communication between pharmaceutical companies and doctors regarding drug labeling. Sachman’s answer, which King & Spalding objected to and was struck by the judge, highlighted Dr. Sachman’s feelings about being deceived:
“Well, you know, physicians, myself and millions of other physicians, every day try to protect people, try to help people and protect them. We rely on truth and honesty from pharmaceutical companies and to falsify information or hold back information is totally criminal. It affects the lives of our patients.”
It’s appropriate Sachman used the word ‘criminal’ given that GlaxoSmithKline have previously pled guilty to criminal charges. Therefore, GlaxoSmithKline are criminals.
Concluding his examining of the witness, David Rappaport asked Sachman about the tie and belt he was wearing. Sachman started to weep, sharing that they belonged to Stewart. Dr. Sachman wore them to “remember him today.”
Cross-examination by King & Spalding’s Todd Davis.
The cross-examination by Davis centered around GlaxoSmithKline’s “Dear Doctor Letters” sent out whenever GSK decides to share a problem with their products. Davis went over and over a series of these letters sent to Sachman. Sachman told Davis that he had, indeed, received these letters. Once again, King & Spalding tried to catch a witness by asking the same questions that were asked years ago during deposition. GSK’s attorneys futilely tried this tactic with Dr. David Healy and Dr. David Cross earlier in the trial.
Davis droned on about the “Dear Doctor Letters” and whether Sachman read them. Finally, an understandably frustrated Judge Hart interjected and admonished Davis, “You’re covering the same ground…over and over again now, Mr. Davis…Let’s not go over the same thing over and over again.”
Davis, however, continued to go over the “Dear Doctor Letters,” and the judge again interjected, “Mr. Davis, the document speaks for itself, and the doctor has accepted it. I don’t see any reason to read the document to him and ask him whether he agrees or disagrees.”
King & Spalding’s “finest” then switched gears, inquiring about Sachman’s prescription of Levaquin (an antibiotic) to Stewart Dolin. Davis asked Sachman if he had read the Levaquin warnings regarding the drug’s propensity to cause adverse effects including suicidal acts or thoughts.
It’s good to see Levaquin manufacturers use the appropriate suicidal acts in their warning label. This term is surely more understandable than the intentionally ambiguous “emotional lability” term GSK prefers. I can’t help but wonder whether Davis would be equally concerned if his spouse consumed a product that states it can cause “emotional labilty” as he would if the warning listed “suicidal acts?”
Bizarrely, Davis next asked Sachman if he was aware Stewart’s widow and children had taken trips in and out of the US since Stewart’s death? Davis likely knows this is irrelevant, but shamelessly asked anyway in a lame attempt to imply Stewart’s widow and children couldn’t possibly be mourning Stewart’s Paxil-induced death if the family has traveled in the last six years. An appropriate question on my mind is “Does Davis take trips in and outside the US after settling cases for GSK in which innocent consumers have died?”
Davis finished his cross-examination, and I presume the jury and judge were glad to have a break from Davis’ tedious repetition. Davis is largely ineffective; GSK might want to reexamine their legal fund investment in Davis when GSK is, no doubt, embroiled in future wrongful death lawsuits.
David Rappaport – Re-direct
I won’t go into too much detail regarding the re-direct because the following question and answer seemed to undue Davis’ performance:
Q. Have you seen in any of the labels that you’ve ever seen from GSK about Paxil any reference to the fact that they had a suicide signal from attempts and suicides in the initial clinical trials that was of the magnitude of 7 to 8 times greater risk than similarly-depressed people on placebo?
A. I certainly have not.
Before leaving the stand, Dr. Marty Sachman told the jury, “I’d like to say that in the midst of all of this attempted confusion of the real issue here, if it was clear that this drug had a higher risk of causing suicide in the age group Stewart Dolin was in, I would have never prescribed it.”
Three doctors have now taken the stand: All have stated if they had known about the increase in suicidality and behavior in adults taking Paxil they would have never prescribed it.
Your move, Todd!
The trial continues today with a series of video depositions that, sadly, I won’t have access to unless they are made public.