Why won’t GSK pay compensation in the UK?

I’ve asked this before, but the question is still very relevant – you see, the thing is, GSK has paid out millions in compensation to patients (and their children) in the USA who have been damaged by Seroxat/Paxil – but not a penny in the UK… I’m confused, is GSK admitting Paxil is a dangerous drug in America with the potential for terrible side effects, but saying Seroxat in the UK is completely safe and not dangerous at all?

And there’s me, thinking they were the same pills!

But of course, the answer to the question “Why not pay compensation in the UK as well?” has nothing to do with drug safety or patients’ suffering and everything to do with profits and business.

In the USA cases like this are heard before juries and lawyers will take cases on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis and settlements can be very high, so the drug companies are running scared. Because of this, most cases in the USA are settled out of court and Confidentiality Agreements ensure none of the truth ever comes to light (see below).

However, in the UK, cases are heard before a single High Court Judge, any settlements would be much lower than in America and funding is much harder to find – certainly Legal Aid is no longer an option in 2016.

So in the UK, GSK might use a legal firm, perhaps like Addleshaw Goddard, to obfuscate and ensure litigation drags out for years and years, to the point where many claimants just give up or are scared off or the momentum of the case simply grinds to halt – it’s a war of attrition and has nothing to do with justice or patient safety.

Behind the scenes it seems there are other pressures that can be brought to bear to ensure that big business has a better chance of winning. Business and government are far too close – but more of that on another day.

Certainly,this has been going on far too long in the UK – I wrote this in 2009 (and 2007):  Given the fact that Glaxo is currently on trial in Philadelphia (and will be in the High Court in London next year), [sic] I thought this repost (from March 2007) might of interest to you.

Drug companies usually favour the out of court settlement – they don’t like the public scrutiny that court cases bring – not to mention the previously secret information that all too often comes to light.

But along with the settlement comes the confidentiality ‘agreement’. The message the drug companies send out is “we pay up – you shut up” – while all the while never admitting any blame (for anything).

I’m not sure – are Glaxo admitting they’re settling Paxil (Seroxat) cases in the USA?

Well they are – this download – Glaxo settlement agreement – tells its own story, I guess. Pay particular attention to section 3 – Confidentiality of Settlement…

What I find ironic is that Glaxo, being an English company, is prepared to open its cheque book in America, but not in the UK.

So then, Glaxo:

Why won’t you settle in the UK?

Why won’t you help the thousands of people in the UK who have suffered because of Seroxat?

Haven’t you made enough money from the drug?

Why are we having to slug it out with you in the High Court?

Links to the Philadelphia trial details are herehere and here.

This from Seroxat Sufferers details some of the settlements GSK has made in the USA:

…since 2002 GSK have paid out compensation to victims of Seroxat, including over 3,000 people who became addicted to Seroxat, over 800 women whose children were born with serious heart defects because of Seroxat, and also being found guilty of Seroxat causing, in part, the death of Donald Schell and his family members.

And just to underline how GSK does business here are a few links from a Google search for ‘GSK fines’:

5 Responses to “Why won’t GSK pay compensation in the UK?”

  1. BOB FIDDAMAN (@Fiddaman) Says:

    In a nutshell… because the UK law is designed to protect those being prosecuted more so than protecting the rights of consumers. Glaxo have resolved over 3,000 similar cases in the US (All Seroxat withdrawal cases) – UK lawyers representing GSK don’t really have to defend allegations, their job, as far as I can make out, is to use the law to their advantage in the hope that cases such as this never get to see the light of day. If GSK really wanted to defend this (in court) then, I believe, they would have hired much more prominent lawyers than Addleshaw. Addleshaw’s job, it seems, is to make sure this action does not proceed.

  2. Karl Says:

    I’m so pleased you posted this because what you wrote I think every day how can they pay in the Us and deny it here it bloody crazy .Im still in withdrawal four years in March and convinced these physical symptoms which are hell every day are permanent feel like I’m having miny seizures list is endless.Money isn’t going to cure me but recognition I’ve been damaged by there defective drug will make me feel believed. I’m praying justice will come for people in the uk and for them to admit they got it wrong with this drug.

    • Karl Says:

      Just read the Glaxo settlement agreement this makes me livid how can they get away with this? Even a simpleton reading that can see there covering there arses and are trying to keep it quiet. The Law in the Uk is seriously flawed if they get away with paying out and when I read 3000 claimants there must be thousands more than that who have been harmed.

  3. Evidencer Says:

    Hi, I followed a link from wikipedia looking for the Study329 emails and saw Mr F here. It’s N.B. from Twitter.

    Never give up. I don’t plan to, but I’ve hardly started, either. Get the laws changed if that’s what it takes. The only cause of failure would be if the drugs are withdrawn and the activists die of old age, still trying. But if the drugs stay, activism will grow. The current anti-stigma (#medicatedandmighty, e.g.) movement might even help. People who out themselves during the honeymood period might be vocal when it all goes to the dogs, too.

    Speaking as a US resident, I want to say that it is considered impossible to get any kind of settlement from a drug company. There are about 329,000,000 people here. 3000 is a lot of people, but far more than 3000 have suffered after starting Paxil. Currently about one in eleven americans takes at least one antidepressant. and some number have taken an antidepressant, and no longer do. Maybe another 1 in 11? I don’t know if it’s the right guess, but if 2/11 of the population has taken or is taking an AD, that’s about 60,000,000 people. Paxil’s still in the top ten for prescriptions filled, although at bottom with Effexor, so I’ll say 1 in 20 who’ve taken an AD took Paxil has taken it or is now. 1/20 of 60M is 3,000,000. What percent of those who ever popped a Paxil suffer incredibly or at great length or are harmed to the that they ? To please the critics, I’l go 20%, which is 600,000 people. If 3000 get settlements, thats .005, or a mere 5 out of a thousand of those who went though or live in hell because of paroxetine.

  4. H Parr Says:

    Has anyone successfully made a claim against damages in the UK then? If enough victims wrote to the MP, would it be heard in the House Of Commons? How have Glaxo got a leg to stand on???


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