A suburban Chicago woman has been awarded $3 million in a lawsuit against GlaxoSmithKline, the drug maker that she blamed for her husband’s suicide.
Wendy Dolin’s husband, Stewart, stepped in front of a Chicago Transit Authority train on July 15, 2010. The 57-year old corporate attorney, a partner at the law firm Reed Smith, had been taking the drug paroxetine for depression and anxiety.
Paroxetine is a generic version of GSK’s Paxil. Dolin claimed GlaxoSmithKline failed to warn her husband’s doctor that the drug could increase risk of suicidal behavior.
Although the drug Dolin was taking was a generic version not produced by GSK, a jury agreed with the widow’s claim that GlaxoSmithKline was still responsible because the drugs are identical and have the same labeling.
A district court judge had previously released the generic drug manufacturer and distributor, both also named in the suit, from the case since neither company controlled the drug’s label, according to press reports.
The suit originally sought $39 million in damages, but the jury awarded $2 million in damages and $1 million for Stewart Dolin’s suffering, according Wendy Dolin’s attorneys.
“GSK maintains that because it did not manufacture or market the medicine ingested by Mr. Dolin, it should not be liable,” the company said in a statement reported by the Chicago Tribune newspaper. “Additionally, the Paxil label provided complete and adequate warnings during the time period relevant to this lawsuit.”
During the trial, GSK’s attorneys also argued that the company had not been required by the FDA to warn of suicide risk, according to reports.
GlaxoSmithKline termed Thursday’s decision disappointing and indicated that the company plans to file an appeal.
(Sources: Associated Press; Chicago Tribune)