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Surfing for Paxil plaintiffs

Helen Palmer Jul 11, 2007

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: You ever get a letter asking you to join a class-action lawsuit so you get your small share of any jury award? Apparently, letters aren’t doing the job in a suit against the drug company GlaxoSmithKline. The case to do with the anti-depressant Paxil. One consumer group is trying a different approach to get plaintiffs on board. Helen Palmer reports from our Health Desk at WGBH.


Helen Palmer: This is hardly your typical YouTube video:

YouTube Video: Did your child ever take Paxil? Or did you take Paxil as a child or adolescent? Whoever paid for those prescriptions may have money coming. Visit Paxilpayback.org.

But Public Citizen’s litigation director Brian Wolfman says a new approach seemed like a good way to get the word out, as the clock’s ticking.

Brian Wolfman: There’s a $42 million fund out there, and unless people make claims by the end of August, the money will go back to the company.

Wolfman says Paxil was never approved for children, and studies suggest it increases the dangers of suicide or suicidal thoughts. This class-action was filed by parents who won the right to recover their costs. Paxil’s maker, Glaxo, settled the suit, but admitted no liability.

The company had “no comment” on the posting on YouTube, but Wolfman says already 1,500 people have viewed it, and he hopes it continues to spread virally.

In Boston, I’m Helen Palmer for Marketplace.

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