The effects of Paxil on the young are not limited to the potential role the drug has in the development of birth defects. Recently an article expressed incredulity that children as young as 7 were still being prescribed Paxil despite the known tendency of the drug to aggravate or even prompt suicidal thoughts in youth taking the medicine. And now a new vindication has come for the parents of children affected by this antidepressant. Dr. Maria Palazzo, a doctor who performed certain studies for Glaxo Smith Kline 10 years ago, recently pled guilty to falsifying the information in those studies.
This is not a shades-of-gray case, either; it deals with the outright manipulation and falsification of clinical trials. Palazzo previously was convicted of other offenses, predominantly Medicare fraud, though the charges of clinical falsification initially were thrown out. However, prosecutors appealed this ruling and the charges were reinstated successfully, so there can be no doubt about the nature of this case.
Glaxo Smith Kline hired Palazzo in 2000 to conduct the trials in question. Additionally, there is evidence that Glaxo knew about the potential for aggravated suicidal thoughts in young people prescribed Paxil 15 years before they announced the findings in 2006.
There were quite a few charges levied against Palazzo specifically pertaining to the Paxil case. She claims to have studied patients when allegedly she had not. She reports patients as manifesting conditions, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, that they allegedly did not actually have. She also allegedly fudged results and reports on patients’ psychiatric histories to attain more favorable results in her publications.
In addition to the 87-month prison sentence she received for the cases of Medicare fraud, Palazzo has been given a term of 13 months for the falsification of the Paxil studies. In addition, she has been ordered to pay GSK nearly $100,000 in restitution and special assessments for her role in defrauding the company.