In September of 2005 after the birth of her daughter Meah, Faith Gibson was confronted with every new mother’s worst nightmare. She was told that Meah had been born with a hole in her heart and ended up enduring seven painful months of hospital visits until her little girl’s heart was repaired. She had learned to accept her daughter’s condition as a case of bad luck up until the day she stumbled upon a news story that would change her outlook entirely. In the story, a Vancouver mom had filed a writ against pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for failing to warn her of the risk of heart defects in newborns when taking the anti-anxiety drug Paxil during pregnancy—the same drug Gibson had taken while pregnant.
During her pregnancy, she was assured by her doctor that Paxil was 100% approved for use by pregnant women. Unfortunately, Meah was born the month that the manufacturers finally came out with a warning about heightened cardiovascular birth defects associated with Paxil. After reading about the case, she decided to become the representative plaintiff for a pending class-action suit and filed her own writ against GSK in B.C. Supreme Court.
Most consumers assume that pharmaceutical companies conduct proper and thorough investigative studies on their drugs before they are released. Unfortunately, it seems there is a tendency for companies to strive for the bare minimum. They shove their drugs into the market as soon as they get approval from the FDA, thus dodging their responsibility to conduct ongoing studies of their products. Furthermore, companies may even try to conceal studies that show serious risks associated with the drug out of fear for losing a large chunk of sales revenue. Merck, for example, discovered through their own clinical trials that Vioxx almost doubled the rate of heart disease, but refused to disclose that information for years. They even went so far as to cover up these results and train sales reps how to circumvent questions about Vioxx’s safety.
Management personnel in many companies make calculated decisions that a certain number of deaths and debilitations are “acceptable” because the company makes more money paying claims to those who are injured than it would if it suffered the loss in sales that would accompany full disclosure. Because of this profit-driven attitude that has warped the ethical standards of pharmaceutical companies, thousands are injured each year. These companies are liable and need to be held accountable when their carelessness harms their consumers. If you or a family member has suffered serious health problems because of a drug defect, you deserve to be compensated. Contact Atkins & Markoff, as the attorneys here are making a dedicated effort to ensure that pharmaceutical companies are reprimanded and forced to change their dangerous ways.