The drugs include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors antidepressants (SSRIs), like Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, and Effexor, and the atypical antipsychotics, that include Zyprexa, Risperdal, Geodon, Seroquel, Clozaril, and Abilify.
GlaxoSmithKline has now lost several lawsuits because it knowingly concealed years of negative information about the serious adverse reactions to Paxil
In one lawsuit it was shown that GSK deliberately misled both physicians and patients to believe that Paxil was not addictive and had no withdrawal reactions with a question and answer pamphlet distributed to doctors' offices to be disseminated to patients, in which GSK asks the question: "Is Paxil addictive?"
And, in response, the pamphlet states: "Paxil has been studied both in short-and-long-term use and is not associated with dependence or addiction."
As a result of GSK's fraudulent marketing of Paxil as non-addictive, the Las Angeles based Baum Hedlund law firm won a major settlement in this class action filed on behalf of patients who got hooked on the drug, and in many instances, found they were unable to stop taking it.
The documents that surfaced during litigation showed that since before Paxil was approved, GSK had known about the withdrawal affects from it own clinical trials and from many others conducted by prominent scientists, in addition to receiving thousands of complaints by individuals who used Paxil.
According to the lawsuit's complaint, "GSK's motive of deliberately failing to advise physicians and the public of the adverse effects that can lead to withdrawal problems (and that it knew a percentage of users of the drug inevitably would experience) was for financial gain and its fear that, if properly labeled the drug, Paxil would lose its share of the SSRI market."
The complaint alleges that GSK over-promoted Paxil in order to increase sales at the expense of revealing the truth about the addictive and dependency nature of Paxil and fraudulently conveyed to all health care providers in the US that Paxil's side effects were only "mild," when in fact GSK knew the drug's withdrawal effects were severe.
It also claims that GSK fraudulently conveyed to health care providers in the US that a British study involving 13,741 patients found that all SSRI's exhibited a similar rate of withdrawal reactions, when in fact GSK knew that the study found Paxil to have the highest rate of withdrawal reactions of any SSRIs.
Over the last several years, evidence has surfaced that also proves that GSK concealed negative information and studies that demonstrated that Paxil drastically increases the risk of suicide and self-harm, especially with children.
The report also notes how GSK hid the events related to akathisia (agitation with hyperactivity) and stimulation, which Dr Breggin says, are known risk factors for suicidality and violence.
Excerpts from the report were recently published by Dr Breggin, in the Spring 2006 issue of Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, Vol 8.