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SMITHKLINE BEECHAM PLEDGES $5 MILLION OF NEW ANTIDEPRESSANT TO BENEFIT NEEDY PATIENTS

 WASHINGTON, April 19 /PRNewswire/ -- SmithKline Beecham (NYSE: SBH) announced today a program designed to provide up to $5 million of its new antidepressant Paxil(TM) (paroxetine HCl) to depressed patients who otherwise might not be able to afford pharmacotherapy.
 The Paxil Access To Care Program is designed to help overcome cost as a barrier to optimal care for needy patients, by providing Paxil free of charge to those patients for whom the cost of a prescription may cause hardship or lead to non-compliance with recommended treatment.
 Paxil, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), is indicated for the treatment of depression, and has been shown to be effective in maintaining antidepressant response for periods of up to one year.
 "Depression increasingly is recognized as a chronic illness requiring long-term treatment," said Dr. Jean-Pierre Garnier, president, SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals - North America. "Although Paxil is less expensive than other drugs in its class, we understand that for some patients who are not insured and who do not qualify for other assistance programs, the cost of a prescription may represent an obstacle to receiving adequate treatment. The Paxil Access To Care Program was created to benefit those patients who otherwise might slip through the cracks of our health care system."
 "Providing access to treatment for patients who are economically disadvantaged is a pressing concern for the mental health community," said Peter Ross, executive director of the National Foundation for Depressive Illness (NAFDI). "Initiatives such as the Paxil Access To Care Program will provide real benefit to the patients who need it most."
 Any physician who treats depressed patients can participate in the Paxil Access To Care Program. Participating physicians will be provided with certificates to be given to patients who are eligible for the program. According to guidelines developed by SmithKline Beecham, a patient is eligible for the Paxil Access To Care Program if the patient has a household income of less than $25,000, has no medical insurance and is ineligible for government or private programs that cover the cost of prescription pharmaceuticals, or, in the opinion of the treating physician, if the cost of antidepressant therapy may impose a significant hardship on the patient.
 Paxil, which became available in February, is the newest antidepressant on the market. It has been shown to have efficacy comparable to traditional antidepressants (such as the tricyclic agent imipramine); however, Paxil has a more favorable safety profile and is more easily tolerated by patients than the traditional tricyclic antidepressants. It has been shown to be equally well tolerated in the elderly and the younger adult population.
 Side effects associated with Paxil tend to be mild and transient. As with other SSRIs, nausea is the most common side effect reported by patients treated with Paxil; however, in worldwide clinical trials, only three percent of patients discontinued therapy as a result of this side effect.
 SmithKline Beecham - one of the world's leading healthcare companies -- discovers, develops, manufactures, and markets human and animal pharmaceuticals, over-the-counter medicines, and clinical laboratory testing services.
 -0- 4/19/93
 /CONTACT: Wendy Stross, 312-988-2336, or Jeff Sholemson, 312-988-2324, both for SmithKline Beecham/
 (SBH)


CO: SmithKline Beecham ST: Illinois IN: MTC SU:

TS -- NY069 -- 7290 04/19/93 10:38 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 19, 1993
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