Japan Says Suicidal Cases Increase Among Takers of Glaxo Drug — (Bloomberg)

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Bloomberg

By Kanoko Matsuyama

June 28 2007

(Bloomberg) — The number of patients who committed suicide or planned suicide after taking GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s antidepressant Paxil rose to 39 last year, Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said.

The number of patients who killed themselves after taking Paxil increased to 15 cases in fiscal year 2006 from 1 in 2004, a health ministry official said in a telephone interview today. Those who thought about or attempted to commit suicide increased to 24 cases last year from 2 cases, according to reports by doctors to the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency.

Patients suffering from depression were about 920,000 in 2005 in Japan, the health ministry said. Glaxo, which started selling Paxil in 2000, sold an estimated Paxil 56 billion yen ($455 million) in Japan last year, according to Glaxo’s unit in Tokyo. Paxil’s global sales reached $1.24 billion last year.

“We have been telling doctors to be cautious with the amounts they prescribe,” Yuko Fuke, a spokeswoman at Glaxo’s Japan unit in Tokyo, said by telephone. “Package inserts warn doctors to be careful. We have been also reporting the risks of the drug to the ministry.”

Glaxo shares fell 8 pence, or 0.6 percent, at 1,306 pence on the London Stock Exchange as of 12:14 p.m. in London.

To contact the reporter for this story: Kanoko Matsuyama in Tokyo at at kmatsuyama2@bloomberg.net
Last Updated: June 28, 2007 07:23 EDT