Drug giant GlaxoSmithKline recently lost a ruling when U.S. District Judge Timothy Savage rejected the company’s attempt to have a Paxil lawsuit thrown out of state court and moved to federal courts in Philadelphia instead.
Glaxo’s goal was to try to maintain that even though the company is based in Philadelphia, the company’s “nerve center” was actually in Delaware. They argued that because of this, the case should be tried in federal court instead of state court. The lawsuits brought up in this ruling were originally filed in the state court in Philadelphia, but Glaxo wanted the cases removed to federal court in Philadelphia by claiming that the plaintiffs were each from different states. The tactic of claiming citizenship in Delaware didn’t work with the judge, however, because the judge ruled that Glaxo’s pharmaceutical and consumer healthcare business is “directed, controlled and coordinated from Philadelphia.” The judge also stated that Glaxo is the “primary and significant part,” of the holding company that is based in Delaware, and that the company’s “nerve center” in Pennsylvania.
Judge Savage’s report stated that GlaxoSmithKline “is a Pennsylvania citizen and cannot remove a case from a Pennsylvania state court on the basis of federal diversity jurisdiction.”
Paxil is an SSRI medication that is used to treat a variety of conditions, including depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder. Paxil has been linked to a variety of serious adverse side effects as well, such as aggressive thoughts and behavior, suicidal thoughts and behavior, and birth defects in babies whose mothers use the drug while pregnant. These adverse side effects have exposed Glaxo and Paxil to a blizzard of negative publicity and subjected Glaxo to thousands of lawsuits.
Studies have even been able to show that the side effects may not even be worth the risk, since the drug doesn’t work any better than placebos at curing depression symptoms. For this reason, many doctors are now prescribing lifestyle changes like exercise and talk therapy instead.