BBC: Drug Firm and U.S. Doctor Consulted on Media Message for Antidepressant

A University of Pittsburgh child psychiatrist who conducted company-sponsored clinical trials on adolescent use of the antidepressant Paxil also conferred with the company on how to respond to press inquiries challenging the safety of the drug for adolescents, reports the BBC investigative program, Panorama. The psychiatrist, Dr. Neal Ryan, sent emails to GlaxoSmithKline dating to 2002 requesting media advice. Ryan interpreted the clinical trial to support the use of Paxil in depressed children, advice that other doctors can follow even when drug regulators do not approve the medication. The emails are among documents turned over to plaintiffs in a California lawsuit against the pharmaceutical maker. In 2003, the U.S. Food and Drug Agency issued a warning against prescribing Paxil to children due to elevated suicidal thinking attributed to the drug. The United Kingdom's pharmaceutical review agency is conducting an investigation into the company's clinical trials. GlaxoSmithKline issued a statement denying any improprieties.