Consumers Join Forces to Protest Against Antidepressant Paxil and
Kickoff Boycott of Drug Company GlaxoSmithKline
(PRLEAP.COM) CHATTANOOGA, TN, August 27th, 2005/PRLeap/ - Consumer drug
advocates from across the United States, Canada and elsewhere are
converging on drug giant GlaxoSmithKline's US corporate headquarters
located in Philadelphia, PA this September 26th through 28th in what
could turn out to be a massive demonstration against the company's top
selling drug called Paxil. The event is called the "Paxil Protest."
"Paxil is a dangerous and defective drug. That is absolutely the case,"
said Rob Robinson, the event's organizer. "The swath of devastation,
misery and sometimes death which Paxil has unleashed the world over is
simply staggering. Yet GlaxoSmithKline has done everything in its power
to keep the sinister truth about Paxil from going public. What's at
stake for the company is a multibillion dollar revenue stream that sales
of Paxil have generated for almost ten years."
"GlaxoSmithKline has claimed since 1992," Robinson said, "that Paxil is
'safe and effective' after it was approved by the Food and Drug
Administration - end of story. But it's the beginning of the story which
GSK conveniently forgets, or rather doesn't want the world to know
about, and that is the fact that Paxil's FDA approval was based on the
company's submission of fraudulent Phase III clinical trials.
As such, GSK's claim that Paxil is 'safe and effective' is specious at
"The truth is Paxil represents the greatest fraud ever perpetuated
within the pharmaceuticals industry," Robinson said. "But thanks to the
unsparing efforts of attorneys representing Paxil victims evidence of
this fraud has been uncovered in GlaxoSmithKline's confidential files.
One trial and it all comes out. And that is going to be one huge news
story - on the order of Merck's Vioxx."
A much anticipated Paxil trial set to take place May 2nd of this year
was delayed for at least another six months. Robinson says he is not
surprised: "GSK has spent hundreds of millions of dollars fighting to
keep the truth about Paxil from coming out, but at the end of day I'm
confident the company's efforts will fail."
Approximately 5,000 U.S. citizens have filed suit against
GlaxoSmithKline asserting they became addicted to Paxil and then
suffered withdrawals when quitting the drug as a consequence of the
company failing to warn them of the drug's dangers. Several thousand
more persons have sued GlaxoSmithKline in the UK on the same basis.
"Paxil's reach extends into medicine cabinets the world over, and cuts
across all social classes," Robinson said. "Paxil is an equal
Some lawsuits filed against GlaxoSmithKline are on behalf of patients
who started Paxil - only to discover they could not stop taking the
drug, even with expert medical help. (One patient in Britain was told by
her doctors that 'heroin would have been easier to wean [herself] off
and recover from.')
"Paxil withdrawal symptoms can be so severe and protracted it requires
an almost superhuman strength to endure them," Robinson said. "Not
surprisingly, some people cannot, and as a consequence commit suicide.
Others victims have resumed use of Paxil to escape withdrawal symptoms,
but will have to take the drug for the rest of their lives whether they
want to or not. In other words, they've become lifetime Paxil addicts."
Robinson stated that a review of the medical literature shows that, on
average, over one-third of people taking Paxil for any extended period
of time experience withdrawal symptoms, and of those, 21% experience
severe withdrawal symptoms. In the clinical trials of Paxil, a
significant percentage of patients (up to 50% according to some
studies) experienced withdrawal.
"There is a huge disconnect between what GSK tells the public about
Paxil, and what the truth about Paxil is. That disconnect extends to
GlaxoSmithKline's labeling of the drug throughout the world. GSK is a
very big company with an even bigger problem of telling the truth,"
In an October 19, 2000 deposition taken of Dr. David Wheadon, Senior
Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Product Professional Services
for GlaxoSmithKline, Dr. Wheadon stated "there have been a number of
systematic studies in humans looking at the potential for Paxil for
abuse, tolerance and physical dependence. So actually, there is data to
date to negate the statement that it has not been systematically
studied, because, in fact, it has been." However, Paxil's June, 2005
drug labeling states "Paxil has not been systematically studied in
animals or humans for its potential for abuse, tolerance or physical
At the time of Dr. Wheadon's testimony Paxil's U.S. drug label
claimed: "Paxil is non-habit forming, may cause mild, usually temporary,
side effects in some individuals" and further that Paxil "has been
studied both in short-term and long-term use and is not associated with
dependence or addiction." "Those claims are now known to be utterly
false," said Robinson.
"No discerning member of the public, or the press, will believe that Dr.
Wheadon was simply mistaken or ill-informed at the time of his year 2000
deposition," Robinson said. He (Wheadon) knows as much about Paxil as
anybody at Glaxo; all one has to do is peruse his sworn testimony to see
that's clearly the case." (Access Dr. Wheadon's complete testimony at
the Paxil Protest web site.)
Dr. Wheadon's association with Paxil spans two decades; he was part of
the original GSK team which presented Paxil's clinical trials during the
FDA's October 5th, 1992 hearing wherein the company first sought - and
later gained - the agency's approval for the drug.
A Paxil Protest web site, launched on August 8th, 2005, has already
received over a quarter of a million 'hits.' "The response from the
public has been one of exuberance. Which is hardly surprising given the
fact that this represents the first time in history a multinational drug
company has successfully been targeted using the Internet as a public
relations weapon," Robinson said. "The Internet is providing the public
the matchless ability to organize and direct participants 'on the
ground' and to further respond in real time to a highly fluid and
dynamic public relations environment. It's almost like having the
equivalent of an AWACS radar plane circling over a public relations
The Paxil Protest web site, well organized and easy to navigate, lays
out a compelling indictment not only of Paxil, but also of
GlaxoSmithKline. "Virtually all of what you'll see at the Paxil Protest
web site was assembled from news stories, medical journals, depositions
and the like. It was simply a matter of pulling all the facts together
into one big package for the public," Robinson said. "I challenge
GlaxoSmithKline to dispute the accuracy and veracity of anything
published to the web site."
The Paxil Protest web site also includes important information for Paxil
users who might wish to quit the drug. "What I did not want to have
happen is to have Paxil users come to the site, panic, and then abruptly
quit the drug. The consequences could be disastrous. That's why an
entire web page addresses the issue of how to get off Paxil safely, or
as safely as possible."
"I am confident the public as well as the media will discover
information that is newsworthy and highly informative on virtually every
page of the Paxil Protest web site" Robinson said. "Plenty of story
angles to be had," he added.
Robinson, a Paxil survivor himself, said it took several years of
intermittent but intensive research to assemble the information
presented at the Paxil Protest web site. "My goal was to make it as easy
as possible for the public to get to the truth about Paxil - the
sinister truth which GlaxosmithKline hides from the world." He describes
the Paxil Protest web site as 'the definitive Paxil Information
As many as 1,000 or more protesters might attend the Paxil Protest. "We
simply have no way of forecasting how many people might show up; after
all, the call to action is going out the world over," Robinson said.
Victims and survivors of other SSRI drugs such as Prozac, Effexor and
Zoloft are also expected to attend in a show of community support.
The Paxil Protest
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