Home / Be The Change / Pharma Giant Funded their Own Study Claiming Drug Was Safe for Kids — It was Actually Deadly

Pharma Giant Funded their Own Study Claiming Drug Was Safe for Kids — It was Actually Deadly


Under current U.S. law, pharmaceutical companies are required to only market and advertise their drugs for FDA approved conditions.

Big pharma heavy-hitter GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) illegally influenced doctors to prescribe the antidepressant drug paroxetine (sold under the brand name Paxil) to teenagers and kids for years even though it was not FDA approved for use in adolescents.

Not to be discouraged by pesky laws, GSK began a focused marketing blitz aimed at doctors, which was a huge success with over 2 million Paxil prescriptions being written for kids in 2002 alone.

So why did doctors write over 2 million Paxil prescriptions for children when the drug was not even approved by the FDA for use in kids?

GlaxoSmithKine actually funded a research study that was published in 2001, known as Study 329, which claimed to show that the drug was “well tolerated and effective” in children.

A subsequent study, not funded by the pharmaceutical company, had drastically different conclusions as to the effectiveness and safety of Paxil in adolescents.

According to a report by Vox:

A major new analysis of the raw data behind Study 329, published in BMJ, suggests that the original conclusions were wildly wrong. Not only is Paxil ineffective, working no better than placebo, but it can actually cause serious side effects, including self-injury and suicide.

The New York State Attorney General’s office eventually found out what was going on with Paxil (and fraudulent activities related to other GSK drugs), sued GSK, and the company pleaded guilty to the wrongdoing, paying out $3 billion in fines. Through legal discovery, it became clear that the company knew their data on Paxil for teens was problematic, even hiring a PR firm to ghostwrite Study 329. In 2004, the FDA added an explicit “black box warning,” recommending against Paxil’s use in adolescents.

The researchers also found that Study 329 was fundamentally flawed. Researchers drastically downplayed serious risks and harms in their analysis of the drug, while intentionally manipulating their data.

To put this entire episode in perspective, GlaxoSmithKline not only created intentionally misleading “scientific” research, but attempted to use this misleading study to get doctors to prescribe its anti-depressant – to kids – for “off-label” use. The entire time GSK knew that the drug had no more benefit to children than a placebo and could lead to suicide and self-harm.

While GSK was massively fined for marketing Paxil to adolescents, drug companies are attempting change the current law to allow them to promote their products for uses that have not been approved by the FDA.

Two companies have sued the FDA, claiming that the current law violates their First Amendment right to free speech.

In August, a federal court in New York ruled in favor of one of the companies, Amarin, which sought to market its prescription fish oil for off-label uses.

A second company filed a similar lawsuit arguing that it should be allowed to promote its post-surgery pain drug for uses that are much broader than those authorized by FDA, according to Vox.

Writing for the Boston Globe, Ed Silverman explained the reality being faced.

“Beyond matters of constitutional law and governmental oversight, the pharmaceutical industry is clearly angling to boost prescription sales. Of course, this would fatten bottom lines, a good thing if you happen to be a shareholder,” Silverman said.

If pharmaceutical companies are successful in changing the law, it could potentially have major implications for public health and safety. The ability of patients and doctors to discern the difference between slick marketing ploys and evidence-based science may become even more difficult than it is already if the drug companies get their way.

Please share this story to help wake people up to the big pharma rip off!

Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, free thinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay’s work has been published on Ben Swann’s Truth in Media, Truth-Out, AlterNet, InfoWars, MintPressNews and maany other sites. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis, on Facebook at Sir Metropolis and now on tsu

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  • And we wonder why children go haywire on us.


  • Nothing to see here…move along…BURN THEM DOWN!

  • No name? Just “Big Pharma”? Way to make a difference. Did you just graduate High School?

    • Regardless of the company, they’re all one cog in the Big Pharma machine.

  • It was safe, except for those who died.

  • Elizabeth Rose Rigler

  • Not only makes them suicidal. And Paxil isn’t the only one. Makes people homicidal, too. Think school shootings.

    • Long time ago a friend of mine was put on Prozac. I saw him become violent. When he was driving he got pissed off about an AC problem in the car. Started pounding the fuck out of the dash. Had his eyes off the road and was going to go off except I warned him. About two months later he did similar. He ended up dying in car crash when his car ran off the road and crashed into a pine tree. I also saw rage flare ups before that which was scary to witness. In the end I blame Prozac for his change and ultimate death. These ssri drugs are dangerous beyond words to convey the danger.

    • Wonder how many incidents like that these people put in their list.http://drugawareness.org/

  • So, did anyone go to jail? No. Fined a few billion, but they made 10s of billions.. yeah a good trade off. But I think more importantly, since a suit didn’t go to jail, it’s a matter of time, if it’s not occurring now, that they’ll do it again.

  • anti depressants for kids ? are you serious …, that sucks , read some literature , learn the law , go green , be an athlete , play pool , anything but pills

  • the same parents were told Jesus is coming back and they bought that too

  • I won’t allow my child to take antidepressants my exes son tried to kill himself when he was 12 because of that crap

  • Which study? Pharma funds virtually all of them.

  • again, tired of hearing about it if shits not getting done. I know this isn’t the right way to approach it but its the facts. No one wants to hear about the same shit over and over, we’ve become conditioned to follow and not disrupt the status qua, this is how we’ll remain until the teachers and Dr’s and scientists can figure out where there fucked up.

    • it’s, quo, their. The very first sentence was awesome and perfect.

    • thanks, I thought so =) then I spell checked for it and it didn’t have it lol

  • anyone goig to go to jail for this, i bet not

  • I wouldn’t ever give my child anti depressants

  • And everyone of them should be hanged in time square !

  • How STUPID you must be to trust ANYONE in the medical INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX!

  • War on drugs……bomb pharma tycoons and redistribute their wealth. Seems fair.

  • These are the types of studies constantly referenced by the mainstream media and therefore uninformed, narrow minded, arrogant sheep who lack the ability/drive to think for themselves. The media is the first thing we need to take back because as George Bernard Shaw said:

    ‘False knowledge is more dangerous than ignorance.’

  • Why people still use the excuse ‘I trust my doctor not to give me stuff that would harm me’ is beyond my comprehension. Most just do what they’re told and follow protocol. And protocol is making $. I used to work pharmaceutical dinner parties as a server. I know. I heard the bonuses offered to docs for prescribing their drug.

  • Why don’t you write its name in your comment if its so dangerous? Why are you still hunting for clicks if you claim to be trying to help?

  • And yet no one goes to jail.

  • Do you think this is the first elite owned industry to do this? Have you Big Media covering this story? Their 6 Corp. owners don’t think this is a story… Heard a bad story about that venal, murderous, lying, corrupt Hillary? Ever wonder why none of her malfeasance is news worthy?

  • Say what.