U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner in Boston today refused to block William Seale’s family from reviewing e-mails and other communications between Glaxo and Boston University researchers over Paxil’s birth-defect risks. The 1-year-old Seale, whose pregnant mother took the antidepressant, died in 2004 after three surgeries to address heart defects, according to court filings.
Seale’s family contends officials at London-based Glaxo, which funded the birth-defect research, sought to influence the study’s results to help protect the company from lawsuits, Gertner said in her ruling. The study was done at the university’s Slone Epidemiology Center.
“The plaintiffs are entitled to correspondence and documents between anyone at Slone and GSK about the study, its scope” and methodology, the judge concluded, referring to the company’s stock ticker.
The ruling came yesterday on the eve of Glaxo’s first trial of claims that Paxil caused birth defects. Opening statements are set for today in state court in Philadelphia. The company faces about 600 such cases across the U.S.