$3 Million Jury Verdict for Suicide Death Caused by Paxil in Pharmaceutical Lawsuit

Plaintiff Wendy Dolin, the wife of the decedent, Stewart Dolin, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago alleging that the death of her husband, Stewart Dolin, was caused by the taking of the generic drug paroxetine, a form of the antidepressant Paxil. Stewart Dolin committed suicide at age 57 on July 15, 2010.

In the lawsuit, it was alleged that the labeling of the drug that was in existence at the time of his death did not warn of the drug’s association with an increased risk of suicidal behavior in adults. It was alleged that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the manufacturer and parent corporation of this drug, had knowledge of a statistically significant 6.7 times greater risk of suicide in adults of all ages. As a matter of fact, it was alleged that the label stated the opposite – that the suicidal risk did not extend beyond the age of 24.

The prescription medication Paxil (paroxetine hydrochloride or “Paxil”) is one of the class of medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs.

In 1989, SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals filed an application seeking federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for the treatment of depression in adults by the use of paroxetine (Paxil). In this case, it was disputed by the Dolin family that GSK submitted extensive data concerning the suicidality to the FDA and further disputed that GSK described “any incidents of suicidality.”

The decedent Stewart Dolin began taking Paxil in July 2010. Paxil is the brand name version of the generic paroxetine. This drug was researched, developed, manufactured and marketed by GSK. Paxil and paroxetine are the same chemical compound and share the same product labeling.

In the early afternoon of July 15, 2010, Stewart Dolin walked to a Chicago Transit Authority station shortly after a business lunch with a colleague. He was a Chicago attorney.  A woman at the station noticed that Dolin was pacing and appeared to be agitated as he looked in the direction of an approaching CTA train. When the train was arriving at the station, it appeared that he leaped in front of the train. He died from injuries due to this collision.

The federal lawsuit alleged that he died because GSK chose not to adequately warn his physician about Paxil’s association with an increased risk of suicide in adults. The federal district court judge had previously ruled that although GSK did not manufacture the actual pills that he ingested, GSK was responsible for the label and knew or should have known any failure to warn would result in harm to those taking generic versions of the drug.

The jury’s verdict of $3 million was entered. It is expected that GSK will appeal the verdict. The attorneys representing the Dolin family were Baum Hedlund, Aristei, Goldman, PC.

At trial, the Dolin family’s counsel presented an exhibit depicting a person who committed suicide while taking Paxil in a GSK-clinical trial. Apparently, the defendant GSK did not track attempted suicides in its clinical trials. The exhibit no doubt was impactful as demonstrating real lives lost to suicide by those who were prescribed and were taking Paxil.

Dolin, et al. v. SmithKline Beecham Corporation d/b/a GlaxoSmithKline, No. 12-CV-06403 (U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling pharmaceutical defect cases, Paxil suicide cases, wrongful death cases and product liability lawsuits for individuals, families and loved ones who have been injured, harmed or died as a result of pharmaceutical errors, product defects and negligence for more than 40 years, in and around Chicago, Cook County and surrounding communities, including Morton Grove, Niles, Des Plaines, Evanston, Elmhurst, Rosemont, River Forest, Lake Forest, Oak Park, Chicago (Rogers Park, Andersonville, North Lawndale, South Shore, Hyde Park, Roscoe Village, Wicker Park, Jefferson Park, Lake Calumet), Wheeling and St. Charles, Ill.

Related blog posts:

$9 Billion Actos Damage Award Against Takeda and Lilly is Upheld

$90 Million Settlement Paid by Pharmaceutical Company For Its Unfair and Deceptive Promotion of Diabetes Drug

$124 Million Penalty to Stand Against the Drug Maker Janssen for the Drug Risperdal