AmLaw includes today an article by Andrew Longstreth regarding the settlement strategies used by Merck for Vioxx, and by Glaxo  for Avandia and for Paxil. The article contrast the Vioxx strategy to the Glaxo strategy and offers some reasoning as as to why Glaxo apparently has chosen  to settle hundreds of cases after just one trial (a plaintiff”s verdict). The case that went to trial involved claims the drug allegedly caused heart defects in babies. Paxil also is claimed to  promote suicides in persons taking the drug.

In short, GSK appears to be settling most of the cases after the adverse trial result, a mediation, and extensive negotiations; go  here for more specif cs. In the case that went to trial, plaintiff’s counsel argued that GSK failed to act on information indicating the defects.   The same article says that GSK countered with an argument based on statistically significant proof of a defect.

A few thoughts come to mind. One is that plaintiff’s lawyers with potentially hundreds of cases to try seldom give up and go away after winning the first trial, unless the plaintiff’s are paid well. Another is that science has by now pretty plainly established that changes in the chemistry of a mother also cause changes for the chemistry in a fetus, and that the changes can be profound,  With today’s science,  effects of that sort can be perceived and proved without epidemiology based on statistics..