UK action group to sue GSK over Seroxat

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DRUGS giant GlaxoSmithKline is facing the possibility of a multi-million pound UK-based lawsuit in connection with its controversial anti-depressant drug Seroxat.

Lawyers acting for the UK Seroxat Users’ Group said yesterday they are just "weeks away" from launching a class action claiming the drug is defective under consumer law. They are expected to claim unspecified damages for the group’s 3,500 members and demand information from GSK as to how users can stop taking the drug.

Last night Mark Harvey, a partner in law firm Hugh James, confirmed he would be writing to GSK over the coming weeks to formally notify it of the action.

"We think it is a strong case", he told The Scotsman. "All the evidence we have seen suggests the drug is defective.

"We want people who are having difficulties withdrawing to be told how to do it safely, warnings that there is an increased risk of suicide and compensation for those affected."

Earlier this month a US-based civil action was filed against GSK by Eliot Spitzer, the New York State Attorney General, claiming the company engaged in "repeated and persistent fraud" by failing to disclose information about Seroxat’s safety and effectiveness.

Harvey said his law firm was representing people who had suffered "significant withdrawal reactions"; those who were unable to quit using the drug and the families of users who have committed suicide.

A spokesman for GSK responded: "We will assess it [the claim] when we receive something from them."