Following on from Glaxo's Beef With David Healy, which I wrote about back in October 2015.
In summary, Wendy Dolin has filed a suit against Paxil (Seroxat) manufacturers, GSK, alleging that Paxil caused the suicide of her husband, Stewart. Since filing Wendy has been subject to GSK's defence lawyers subpoenaing her cellphone and text message records, her home phone and her late husband's company phone. King & Spalding, GSK's defence team, have also asked Wendy about her love life and shown the private medical notes of her later husband to her children.
Not content with targeting a grieving wife, GSK have also singled out David Healy, an expert called by Dolin in the case against GSK.
In short, they have claimed that Healy should not be allowed to give evidence in the trial, he's not credible, he has a bias, he's telling people to go out and kill.
It's all hot air, much of which has been cherry-picked from Healy's blog and, in some instances misquoted and misguided - for example GSK's highly paid law team, who must have combed through Healy's blog by borrowing their client's rat-infested flea comb have claimed Healy has said things when in actual fact he hasn't, it's been comments left by others on Healy's blog - so much for crossing the T's and dotting the i's, huh?
Anyway, you get the gist, right?
GSK target the person filing the suit against them then, after failing, they then target that person's expert witness. You just have to love how King & Spalding operate at times.
Well, they failed in getting Healy's testimony thrown out. In fact, they wanted all four of Dolin's witnesses to not have their testimony's aired.
They were denied these motions by Judge James B. Zagel who, in summary, said...
“I am denying all four of GSK’s motions to exclude. The Daubert criteria are satisfied when a well-credentialed expert provides well-supported opinions that are relevant and reliable.”
One would have thought that was that - but remember, we are dealing here with a pharmaceutical company (and their attorneys) who will try everything in the book when the defence of Paxil becomes so weak.
In 2013 Healy found himself under the spotlight after a patient in his care suicided. This event spurned a review by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) who, for reasons not known, hired an external consulting Psychiatrist, Dr. Robert Higgo to take a role in the review process.
The review, according to Healy, was meant to examine the circumstances surrounding the incident. Higgo, in his review, accused Healy of misconduct.and submitted his findings to the BCUHB.
In response to Higgo's allegations the BCUHB...
(1) initiated an internal investigation to examine the allegations
(2) sent a referral to the GMC to explore whether there was any misconduct that would raise concern about Dr. Healy’s fitness to practice medicine.
To cut a long story short, Healy was exonerated by the GMC. They concluded...
"As Dr. Healy had stated from the very beginning, that Dr. Higgo’s report was unfounded and that Dr. Healy did not engage in any conduct putting his fitness to practice medicine into question."
So, Healy was cleared. Here's where it gets interesting.
While in America, Healy was tracked down by attorneys who served him with a subpoena, the gist of which was that he should produce all documents concerning the BCUHB and GMC investigations.
No guessing who those attorneys were.
Healy refused, citing that it would jeopardise his employment as a physician and documents that were deemed privileged and confidential by BCUHB.
GSK then filed a motion to the court, basically demanding that Healy produce the documents.
The court asked to see the document in chambers (ie; just them and not GSK) so they could make a decision as to whether these documents were relevant to the Dolin case, moreover, relevant to GSK's argument that Healy's testimony in the Dolin case should be heard.
Healy handed over the documents to the court in July last year.
It was during the courts review of these documents that GSK filed motions for Healy to be dismissed as an expert witness - as previously mentioned, the court denied them this.
But, on and on they go. GSK now wish to conduct a hearing with Healy before the Dolin trial date of January 2017. Dolin, via her attorney, Brent Wisner of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, sent another letter to GSK indicating that...
“...in light of the recent ruling by the General Medical Council (“GMC”) clearing Dr. Healy of wrongdoing, this proceeding is no longer necessary or relevant.”
Furthermore, plaintiff added that if GSK wish to pursue this matter then she (Dolin) would like to conduct targeted discovery related to GSK’s interactions, if any, with GMC and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (“BCUHB”)
Has the penny dropped yet?
The GMC exonerated Healy but now, it seems, GSK want their own kangaroo court to attack him even further.
In a quite genius twist Dolin's legal team have now asked the court that if GSK are granted a special hearing with Healy before trial then they request that plaintiff should be permitted to conduct targeted discovery relating to any influence GSK may have had in BCUHB’s or the GMC’s investigation of Dr. Healy.
In short, Dolin is asking for...
All documents reflecting communications between GSK or its agents, including counsel representing GSK, and Robert Poole, Robert Higgo, Giles Harborne, Matt Makin, Alberto Salmoiraghi, Peter Higson, or anyone at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board that mention or discuss Dr. David Healy.
All documents reflecting any payments or monies by GSK or its agents, including counsel representing GSK, to the aforementioned.
They've requested the same documents between GSK and the GMC too.
I wouldn't put it past anyone connected with GSK to find ways to sling mud at one of their biggest critics - I've heard the 'bullet left on a car story' but thought it was just folklore - I'm seriously beginning to think there was merit in that claim from a plaintiff who went up against GSK many years ago... apparently they wouldn't accept GSK's offer, next thing they know, there's an empty bullet casing left on their car...but that's another story.
Who needs John Grisham, huh?
The whole sordid affair, or rather matter of affairs, has me wondering if GSK's UK legal team will go down the same road when defending Paxil in a UK lawsuit next year. Just over a hundred people have filed a group action claiming they suffered as a consequence of withdrawing from Paxil. In 2002 GSK settled over 3,000 similar cases in the United States but, for one reason or another, GSK won't settle with those who make the same claims against them in the UK.
Will they be mud slinging Healy et al again, or bloggers for that matter?
The motion to vacate the 'special hearing' was filed by R. Brent Wisner on August 1.
Researching pharmaceutical companies, in particular GlaxoSmithKline, over the past ten years or so has taught me a few things when it comes to litigation.
1. The pharmaceutical company will defend cases in antidepressant related suicide, homicide, birth defects and withdrawal - even though the drug in question has been proven to cause such adverse reactions - they will, under oath, admit their drug can cause all of the above but will refute that (in the case they are defending) it did not cause x,y, or z to kill themselves or cause induced homicide, birth defects or horrific withdrawal problems.
2. They will drag litigation out for as long as they can, throwing subpoenas left, right and centre - they will object to this and that and will file motions in the hope that plaintiffs attorney's will spend more - thus settle at a later date for a meagre offer - See the Paxil birth defect case - Joanne Thomas v GlaxoSmithKline here and here.
3. They like to show their teeth. It's a way to stop further litigation against them. The actions in the case of Dolin v GlaxoSmithKline is basically a stark warning being sent out to anyone who may have ideas of going up against GSK in the future. It doesn't matter if you lost your child to suicide or had to abort your child due to birth defects caused by Paxil - or if you lost your job and marriage due to horrific Paxil withdrawal - you are dealing with a company that shows no empathy - it's an entity that is psychopathic - it cares not a jot about personal feelings - Grinding its teeth and digging its heels in is just an advertisement by proxy. The message being, Oppose us and we will make your life a complete misery. They not only do this with people who bring claims against them, they do it with expert witnesses who go up against them. One only has to look at the way they have targeted David Healy - it's not just about targeting Healy, it's about sending a message out to other future expert witnesses.
That's my take on things anyway.
Anyone know how the ruckus between David and Goliath finally ended up?
Answers on a postcard to King & Spalding.
Court document shows how a jury, in 2001, found GSK's Paxil responsible for inducing suicide and/or homicide.