Paxil bottle with capsules

As we’ve previously reported on the PAL blog, GlaxoSmithKline agreed to pay $40 million to settle a national class action lawsuit brought against it on behalf of “third party payors” (health plans, union benefit funds and others). The case alleged that GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) defrauded third party payors by failing to disclose the increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior among children and adolescents taking the prescription antidepressants Paxil® and Paxil CR®.

PAL coalition members, Sergeants Benevolent Association Health and Welfare Fund, AFSCME District Council 37 Health and Security Plan and IUOE Local 4 Health and Welfare Fund had filed an objection to a proposed $40 million settlement in the case, Carpenters and Joiners Welfare Fund et. al. v. SmithKline Beecham Corp (04-3500 D.MN). The objectors were able to negotiate significant changes to the settlement, and withdrew their objection.

On September 30, the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota held a “Final Approval” hearing in the case. Lawyers for the plaintiffs, defendant and objectors all made presentations to the Court about why the settlement is “fair, reasonable and adequate” and why it should be approved. The Court issued its order granting final approval to the settlement shortly after the hearing ended.

Now that the settlement has received Final Approval, payments can be made to Third Party Payors that paid for Paxil for pediatric patients between 1998 and 2004. The deadline to submit claims forms is December 12, 2008. A letter will go out shortly to 42,000 third party payors that had previously received a notice by mail of the settlement. The letter will apprise them of the changes to the settlement that the objectors were able to negotiate, and let them know about changes to the claims form. As of this writing, the claims form had not yet been updated on the settlement website – We urge third party payors to check back soon at to see if the new form has been posted, or to call the Settlement Administrator at 1-800-396-5655.