Paxil Birth Defect Case Dismissed Mid-Trial

Posted by Sarah Showard | Apr 06, 2016 | 0 Comments

A Philadelphia judge dismissed a case against GlaxoSmithKline on April 4, 2016 pursuant to a motion for compulsory nonsuit after the Plaintiffs rested their case. 

The case alleged that the antidepressant Paxil that was prescribed to plaintiff Elisabeth Balser caused cardiac defects in her son.  He was born with a condition known as tetralogy of fallot, which is a combination of several congenital heart defects that plaintiffs alleged resulted from Balser's use of Paxil during the early stages of her pregnancy in 2003. 

In September 2005, the Food and Drug Administration upgraded  Paxil to a Pregnancy Category D drug which warned physicians that studies in pregnant women had demonstrated a risk to fetuses. The judge would not allow this evidence to be presented to the jury determining that it was evidence of a subsequent remedial measure. 

The case was dismissed because the judge found that the jury would have to speculate about whether the prescribing physician, Dr. Robert Kiehn , would have changed his decision to prescribe Paxil to Ms. Balser if he had been presented with more adequate warnings about the potential risks of the drug.  While Dr. Kiehn testified in his video taped deposition that he would never have prescribed a Category D drug, the judge barred those questions from being played for the jury. 

The plaintiffs counsel has indicated that an appeal will be filed regarding the judges ruling. 

About the Author

Sarah Showard

Sarah Showard graduated from the University of Maryland in 1985, Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English-Linguistics and a Certification in Womens Studies. She then graduated from New York University School of Law in 1988. Sarah began practice initially as an insurance defense attorne...


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