Attorneys plan to file objections in Madison County's Paxil settlement

By Steve Gonzalez | Nov 3, 2006

Attorneys in competing class action suits against GlaxoSmithKline's anti-depressant drug Paxil plan to file objections to a recent Madison County settlement.

According to several legal sources who asked not to be identified, class action attorneys from across the country are upset with the Madison County class action settlement because the amount is not sufficient to compensate all those who will have a claim.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) agreed to pay $63 to settle all future claims in the Madison County case. GSK was accused of promoting Paxil and Paxil CR for prescription to children under 18 while withholding negative information about the medications safety and effectiveness.

Local class action attorney Stephen Tillery will pocket more than $16 million from the settlement reached Oct. 6. It was approved by Madison County Associate Judge Ralph Mendelsohn.

Hundreds of similar class actions suits were put on hold with the stroke of Mendelsohn's pen.

Mendelsohn, who had just recently been assigned to the case, ruled that competing claims would jeopardize his ability to rule on the settlement and would substantially increase the cost of litigation.

One Paxil-related class action suit has already settled.

The law firms of Miller Faucher and Cafferty, LLP, of Philadelphia, RodaNast, P.C., of Lancaster, Penn. and The Wexler Firm, LLP, of Chicago, settled a suit for $65 million on behalf of health insurance companies who claimed lawsuits against competitors stopped them from selling low-cost generic versions of Paxil.

That lawsuit claimed that GSK's conduct violated federal and state antitrust laws and consumer protection laws by keeping low cost generic versions of Paxil off the market.

As in the Madison County case, GSK denied all the allegations, but settled anyway to keep litigation costs to a minimum.

However, at least seven suits across the country are very similar to Tillery's case, and now after two years of work, Mendelsohn has shut them down.

St. Louis based Brown & Crouppen has a suit pending in neighboring St. Clair County and has already filed an objection with Mendelsohn. Details of that objection are not yet known as documents were not available at press time.

Sources tell the Record that a law firm in West Virginia also plans to file an objection to the settlement.

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