Writ of Mandamus is Denied by Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Paxil Case

The Paxil drug maker, GlaxoSmithKline, LLC (GSK) is defending product-liability lawsuits in Chicago’s federal district court for the Northern District of Illinois. GSK manufactures the antidepressant Paxil, which is the brand-name of paroxetine hydrochloride.

In one of the many lawsuits that are pending, a 2010 suicide took place just six days after the man started to take the generic version of Paxil. The wife of the decedent filed a lawsuit in federal court under diversity jurisdiction against GSK and Mylane, who is the maker of paroxetine, which was part of the medicine taken by the decedent.

The lawsuit alleged that the paroxetine label used at the time of the decedent’s death failed to warn users of an increased risk of suicide in adults.

Earlier this year, the presiding federal district court judge dismissed all claims against Mylane and some of the claims against GSK, but the judge denied GSK’s motion for summary judgment on common-law negligence and negligent misrepresentation claims and on certain product-liability claims.

In the district court judge’s opinion, it was stated that even though GSK did not manufacture the paroxetine (the component of Paxil) that the decedent had taken when he filled his prescription for Paxil, the Paxil manufacturer could still be held accountable for the death.

Under federal law, a generic drug’s design in warning labels must match those of the brand-named version, which may have led to the judge’s ruling.

The district court judge wrote that the law bars the maker of a generic drug from unilaterally changing its warning label. Under the regulatory laws, the brand-name maker (GSK) may be liable in some circumstances for negligently failing to warn consumers of the risks of taking any version of the drug. As a result of the trial judge’s ruling denying summary judgment, GSK requested a writ of mandamus, which if successful would order the judge to rule otherwise. Writs of mandamus are rare in practice. Remember Marbury v. Madison (1803).

The 7th Circuit panel wrote that the company — assuming it loses in the trial court — will have the opportunity to challenge the judge’s ruling in an appeal. Lawyers on the plaintiffs’ side applauded the U.S. Court of Appeals ruling indicating that it showed a promising sign in correctly interpreting Illinois law on the subject.

In re GlaxoSmithKline, LLC, No. 14-2051 (7th Cir. U.S. Court of Appeals).

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling pharmaceutical product liability cases, medical device defect cases, medical negligence cases and nursing home abuse cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another for more than 38 years in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Glenview, Glendale Heights, Brookfield, Chicago (Lincoln Park, Lakeview, South Chicago, South Shore, West Loop, Wrigleyville, Loyola Park, Lincoln Square, Edgewater), Oak Park, Matteson, Markham, Lemont, Lansing, LaGrange, Burr Ridge, Calumet City and Country Club Hills, Ill.

Related blog posts:

U.S. District Court Orders $1 Million as Sanctions in Discovery Abuses in Predaxa Drug Lawsuits

Actos Trials Under Way in Illinois; Juries in California and Maryland Reach Verdicts

90 Million Settlement Paid by Pharmaceutical Company For Its Unfair and Deceptive Promotion of Diabetes Drug