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Class action against Paxil maker allowed to proceed

A GlaxoSmithKline logo on one of its buildings in west London in February 2008.

Toby Melville/Reuters

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has ruled a class-action lawsuit can go ahead against the maker of the antidepressant drug Paxil.

The allegations against GlaxoSmithKline Inc. are that the drug caused birth defects in children whose mothers used it during pregnancy.

The representative plaintiff in the case, Faith Gibson, says she started using the drug in 2002 and continued using it when she was pregnant through 2005, when her daughter Meah was born and later diagnosed with a hole in her heart.

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Paxil issued a warning in September of 2004 regarding respiratory complications in newborns whose mothers used Paxil during the third trimester of pregnancy.

It is unclear how many people will join the lawsuit, but evidence put forward during the application asking for approval of the class action says almost six million Paxil prescriptions were written for women of child-bearing age between 1993 and 2009.

While the case still needs to go to trial, Mr. Justice Nathan Smith ruled there are enough common issues in the case to warrant a class-action proceeding.

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