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 here, here 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’: