Important Update: On February 6, 2013 the Court entered a Final Order and Judgment Granting (1) Final Approval to Proposed Class Action Settlement; (2) An Award of Attorneys’ Fees and Reimbursement of Costs to Class Counsel; (3) An Incentive Payment to the Class Representative; and (4) Disallowing Any Payment to Former Objector and Her Counsel. The Final Order and Judgment can be viewed here. Settlement award distribution commenced the week of May 13, 2013.
Grair v. GlaxoSmithKline Litigation
A settlement has been proposed in a class action lawsuit about alleged false and deceptive advertising and promotion of the prescription anti-depressant “Paxil®.” If you paid for Paxil®, you could get a payment from a class action settlement.
What is this lawsuit about?
This lawsuit alleges claims under California’s Unfair Competition Law (B&P § 17200 et seq.) against Defendant GlaxoSmithKline LLC (“GSK” or “GlaxoSmithKline”) for alleged false and deceptive advertising and promotion of the prescription antidepressant medication “Paxil®” wherein Class Plaintiffs allege that GSK employed false and deceptive marketing by: 1) misrepresentations; and 2) failing to disclose material information to the class and healthcare providers (i.e., learned intermediaries) (a) that Paxil® was habit forming or addictive and (b) about Paxil®’s risks and unique frequency and severity of symptoms on withdrawal or discontinuation of Paxil® (the “Action”). GSK denies these allegations and specifically denies that Paxil® is habit forming or addictive and that it employed false or deceptive advertising.
Who is a Class Member?
The Court decided that Class Members in the settlement include:
All natural persons who: (1) commenced a Paxil® prescription between January 14, 1999 and January 1, 2003; (2) were 18 years old or older at the time they commenced their prescription; and (3) were residents of the State of California at the time they commenced their prescription.
What does the settlement provide?
The settlement provides monetary compensation as follows: GSK shall pay up to a total of $8,500,000.00 to provide a full refund of the Out-of-Pocket Expenses of Settlement Class Members who timely submitted a valid Proof of Purchase and a sworn statement verifying eligibility. In the event the total amount of valid claims submitted by Settlement Class Members with valid Proof of Purchase exceeds $8,500,000.00, then the payment to those Class Members will be reduced pro rata so that a total of not more than $8,500,000.00 will be paid to Settlement Class Members with valid Proof of Purchase. GSK shall reimburse Out-of-Pocket Expenses incurred by Settlement Class Members who timely submitted a sworn statement verifying eligibility but who do not have valid Proof of Purchase up to $80.00 per claimant. In the event the total amount of valid claims submitted by Settlement Class Members who do not have valid Proof of Purchase exceeds $500,000.00, then the payment to those Class Members will be reduced pro rata so that a total of not more than $500,000.00 will be paid to Settlement Class Members who do not have valid Proof of Purchase.
The settlement also provides that GSK shall also make a charitable contribution in the total amount of $1,000,000.00 to the following organizations: (1) Mental Health America in California; (2) National Alliance on Mental Illness; (3) American Foundation for Suicide Prevention; and (4) DiDi Hirsch Mental Health Services, with a direction that the contribution be used for the provision of mental health services, including psychiatry and case management, and mental health training and education in the State of California. Each organization shall receive a donation of $250,000.00.
Finally, the settlement provides that GSK shall include certain information about Paxil® or Paxil CR® on its corporate website as long as Paxil® or Paxil CR® is listed as a GSK product on that website and that should GSK in the future market or sell Paxil® or Paxil CR® or generic paroxetine in the United States, then GSK will not advertise the product as non-habit forming and will comply with all FDA requirements.
What are my options?
The only way to receive a payment was to complete and submit a Claim Form. Claim Forms must have been mailed to the Settlement Administrator postmarked by October 10, 2012. For further instructions on filing a claim, please review the notice or click here.
If you didn’t want a payment from this settlement, but you wanted to keep the right to sue or continue to sue GlaxoSmithKline over the legal issues in this case, then you must have taken steps to get out of this settlement. This is called asking to be excluded from—or sometimes called “opting out” of—the Class. Requests for exclusion must have been mailed to the Settlement Administrator postmarked by October 10, 2012. For further instructions regarding opting out of the Class, please review the notice or click here.
If you’re a Class Member and you did not exclude yourself, you could have objected to the settlement if you didn’t like any part of it. You should have given reasons why you think the Court should not approve it. The Court will consider your views. To object, you must have done so in writing. Objections must have been mailed to the Settlement Administrator, Class Counsel, and Defense Counsel postmarked by October 10, 2012. For further instructions regarding objecting to the settlement, please review the notice or click here.
If you did nothing, you will not get any payment from this settlement. Unless you excluded yourself, you won’t be able to start a lawsuit, continue with a lawsuit, or be part of any other lawsuit against GlaxoSmithKline about the legal issues in this case.
Final Approval Hearing
The Court will hold a Fairness Hearing at 9:00 a.m. on November 13, 2012 at Department 323 of the Superior Court for the State of California County of Los Angeles located at Central Civil West Courthouse, 600 S Commonwealth Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90005. At this hearing the Court will consider whether the settlement is fair, reasonable, and adequate. The Court will decide whether to approve the settlement and the motion for attorneys’ fees, expenses, and awards to the Class Representatives. If there are objections, the Court will consider them. The hearing may be moved to a different date without additional notice, so it is a good idea to check this website for updated information.