GSK exec memo cited in Paxil suit

Yesterday's order by U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner that GlaxoSmithKline turn over correspondence with researchers studying Paxil-related birth defects has been followed by details, read during opening statements in the trial, that a GSK exec wrote about allegedly burying negative study results.

The quote read in court--"If neg, results can bury"--suggests that Bonnie Rossello, in a 1997, memo instructed researchers to eliminate Paxil risk information from a document on the drug's safety, lawyers are quoted as saying in a Bloomberg report. "[Company executives] said if there's any doubt, take it out," the lawyer told jurors.

Glaxo executives contend that a boy's heart defect at the center of the trial was caused by something other than the antidepressant taken by his mother. GSK counsel said in its opening statement that the company had appropriately tested and marketed the drug.

The case was brought on behalf of William Seale, who died in 2004. According to Bloomberg, Seale's family contends that GSK knew of the risks and tried to pressure researchers to present the study's results so as to protect the company from lawsuits.

- here's the Bloomberg item
- see our earlier coverage