NY Attorney General Sues Glaxo on Paxil Marketing

N.Y. state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer (search) said on Wednesday he sued British pharmaceuticals group GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK), claiming fraud over its antidepressant drug Paxil.

The lawsuit alleges that starting in 1998, Glaxo engaged in a concerted effort to withhold negative information about Paxil (search) and misrepresented data concerning its safety and efficacy in children and adolescents.

The suit claims Glaxo conducted at least five studies on the use of Paxil in children and adolescents but published only one, which had mixed results. It claims the company suppressed negative results from the other studies, which did not show that Paxil worked and may even have suggested an increased risk of suicide.

Glaxo officials were not immediately available for comment.

In the suit, filed in N.Y. State Supreme Court in Manhattan, Spitzer asked that Glaxo give up all profits obtained through the claimed misconduct.

The suit also claims Glaxo misrepresented the results of its research to its sales representatives, saying it had "remarkable efficacy and safety in the treatment of adolescent depression."

More than 2 million prescriptions for Paxil were written for children and adolescents in the United States in 2002, even though the drug is approved by U.S. regulators only to treat adult depression. Physicians, however, have the ability to prescribe Paxil for children.