GlaxoSmithKline Pleads Guilty to Criminal Charges, Faces $3 Billion Fine for Drug Marketing


British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline agreed this week to plead guilty to criminal charges and pay approximately $3 billion in fines for promoting the drugs Paxil and Wellbutrin for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and for failing to report safety data about Avandia to the FDA.

It is the largest settlement involving a prescription drug manufacturer, and the settlement agreement also includes civil penalties for the improper marketing of other drugs. Many pharmaceuticals come with a risk of side-effects, but these drugs can be especially dangerous when they are prescribed for off-label use.

In the case of Paxil, prosecutors said GlaxoSmithKline illegally promoted the antidepression drug for use in children despite the fact that the FDA did not approve Paxil for anyone under 18. The company also promoted Wellbutrin for weight loss, sexual dysfunction, substance addiction and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder even though it was only FDA-approved for major depressive disorder.

GlaxoSmithKline was also accused of failing to report data relating to the safety risks of the diabetes drug Avandia, the use of which was restricted in 2010 after it was linked to increased instances of heart problems.

If you or a loved one suffered side-effects from using a prescription drug as directed, a product liability attorney may be able to help you pursue compensation for related damages. Please contact for a free case evaluation and to locate a qualified lawyer near you.