Later in his ruling, the judge restated this point, writing, “The negligence here is extrinsic to the Paxil manufacturing process and, if true, could proximately cause injury to consumers of all versions of paroxetine, including the generic version that Mr. Dolin ingested.” Several other arguments by GSK that on their face appeared to be little more than efforts to confuse the issue were also found by the judge to be without merit.
“This is a significant victory for consumers,” stated R. Brent Wisner, one of Ms. Dolin’s lawyers, who argued the motion before Judge Zagel last year. “Until this ruling, consumers in Illinois, who happen to have their prescription filled with a generic, fell into a doughnut hole of liability. Generic manufacturers point the finger at the brand name manufacturer, arguing that generics have no control over the label. And brand name manufacturers point the finger at the generics, claiming they are not liable because they didn’t make that particular pill. Judge Zagel’s opinion, which joins a handful of courts around the country, takes a broader view of the duty a brand name manufacturer owes to consumers. This ruling appropriately addresses the fact that brand manufacturers still control the labeling, which generic manufacturers must copy, and if a drug label is false or misleading, the drug manufacturer has the ability and responsibility to make it accurate. If you create a drug and know that it poses serious risks, regardless of whether consumers use the brand name or generic version of that drug, you have a duty to warn.”
In the original complaint, the plaintiff charges GSK with negligently and fraudulently misrepresenting the safety and efficacy of paroxetine, negligently and fraudulently manipulating clinical trial data to obscure the suicidal behavior risk associated with paroxetine, and negligently and fraudulently touting the drug’s safety and efficacy through ghostwritten journal articles and through its sales force and routine visits to physician’s offices, including the prescribing physician in this case.
Ms. Dolin has started a unique non-profit organization called MISSD (The Medication-Induced Suicide Education Foundation in Memory of Stewart Dolin) dedicated to honoring the memory of Stewart and other victims of akathisia by raising awareness. Her work in this area has led to a groundswell of support and awareness of the risks associated with SSRIs.