The State of Washington was awarded $6 million in its case against the makers of Paxil, GlaxoSmithKline, after the trial revealed that Glaxo allowed adulterated drugs to be sold.
The charge of adulteration came in 2004; a whistleblower came forward and charged that Glaxo knowingly sold Paxil and other drugs after manufacturing errors brought the drugs’ quality down to almost nil. The $6 million award against Glaxo came from them selling drugs that didn’t meet federal standards. While Paxil wasn’t the only drug involved in the case (others were Avandamet, Kytril and Bactroban), the current controversy surrounding the popular antidepressant certainly makes Paxil an easy focal point.
The federal government, along with many other states, filed its claim in court when the whistleblower stated that the company made a lot of severe mistakes during the production of the drugs at its plant in Cidra, Puerto Rico. She also stated that because of these mistakes, there were drugs that either had no active ingredient in them, had only the active ingredient in them or lacked the ingredient that made the pills work in controlled release form.
As to what the State of Washington plans to do with its windfall, representatives have stated that officials plan to divide half of the money between the state’s Medicaid program and the general fund. With the other half, they will pay back the federal government for the prescription costs of Medicaid.
With all of the complications and controversy surrounding GlaxoSmithKline these days, it is likely that these suits will be just the beginning. However, Glaxo officials seem to have no intentions of admitting full liability and standing behind most of their products — at least not until they are caught in the act. This is something that has been happening to them a lot lately. By the looks of it, cases against Glaxo and Paxil are not over yet.