Amby Cole vs. Eli Lilly

Eli LillyAmby Cole vs. Eli Lilly

Lilly faces another Prozac lawsuit
Tennessee widow says husband hanged himself 13 days after drug was prescribed.

By Jeff Swiatek
jeff.swiatek@indystar.com
The Indianapolis Star

The lawsuit, filed last week in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, is the latest in more than 200 lawsuits against Prozac maker Eli Lilly and Co.  since the early 1990s.

Amby Cole vs. Eli Lilly

6/25/2002

Lilly faces another Prozac lawsuit
Tennessee widow says husband hanged himself 13 days after drug was prescribed.

http://www.starnews.com/article.php?prozac25.html,business

By Jeff Swiatek
jeff.swiatek@indystar.com
The Indianapolis Star

To read the lawsuit go to: http://www.justiceseekers.com/files/NLPP00000/060.PDF

A Tennessee woman charges that Prozac caused her husband to hang himself 13 days after being prescribed the drug by his cardiologist for chest pain and loss of weight.

The lawsuit, filed last week in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, is the latest in more than 200 lawsuits against Prozac maker Eli Lilly and Co. since the early 1990s.

Plaintiff Amby Cole, joined by her two children, says in the lawsuit that Milton Cole’s death in June 2001 “fits the signature pattern” of suicide caused by the Prozac family of antidepressants.

Cole wasn’t seriously depressed or suicidal and “became nervous, jittery and aggravated” after taking Prozac, the lawsuit says.

The wrongful-death and product-liability lawsuit charges that Prozac causes violent side effects that are dose-related, but Lilly “chose not to pursue” a lower-dose Prozac and put a once-weekly version on the market only last year.

“Lilly did not start marketing a once-a-week Prozac until its patent rights had been adjudicated as over and it was threatened in the marketplace with a generic formulation,” the lawsuit says.

Lilly has always maintained that Prozac’s side effects don’t include suicidal or violent thoughts. In the only two Prozac civil suits to come to trial, juries have sided with Lilly.

Attorneys for plaintiffs in the latest suit are J. Houston Gordon of Covington, Tenn., and Andy Vickery of Houston. Call Jeff Swiatek at 1-317-444-6483.

Copyright 2002 The Indianapolis Star

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Healy vs. University of Toronto

Healy vs. University of Toronto

Scientist stands by views of drugs after settling lawsuit with U of T

A prominent British psychiatrist who found his offer of a post at a University of Toronto teaching hospital rescinded after he criticized a popular form of antidepressants says he stands by his controversial view of the drugs
Healy vs. University of Toronto

5/24/2002

Scientist stands by views of drugs after settling lawsuit with U of T

http://www.canoe.ca/NationalTicker/CANOE-wire.HEALTH-Healy.html

A prominent British psychiatrist who found his offer of a post at a University of Toronto teaching hospital rescinded after he criticized a popular form of antidepressants says he stands by his controversial view of the drugs. Dr. David Healy said he continues to believe that Prozac and other drugs of its class — known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors — can be addictive and cause suicidal tendencies in some people.

“My views haven’t changed at all,” said Healy, who recently reached an out-of-court settlement with the university and the hospital, the Centre for Mental Health and Addiction.

“I think the SSRIs can make people suicidal. I think you can get physically dependent on them and can have a withdrawal problem. You may not be able to stop. Full stop.”

Healy, who teaches at the University of Wales, made the comments at a news conference Thursday, his first since he settled his $9.4-million lawsuit against the university and hospital.

The settlement, many of the terms of which remain undisclosed, has resulted in the university offering Healy a visiting professorship which will see him spend a week a year at the University of Toronto for several years, beginning next spring.

Healy launched the lawsuit after the university withdrew in November 2000 a five-year job offer to run the centre’s mood and anxiety program.

“I bore no ill will towards them,” he insisted Thursday. “And clearly the process going on too violently or too long wouldn’t do them any good, wouldn’t do me any good.”

That’s because Healy has other issues he wants to bring to the public’s attention, such as the way drug companies selectively release safety and efficacy data on drugs and use ghost writers to author articles on their drugs for submission to scientific journals.

“And there’s a real hazard that I go on about these things and the legal action was still there, people would say: “Well, we don’t need to pay any heed to that. He’s just saying this because he’s trying to sue the University of Toronto.”

“If I want people to listen to some of the other things, it seemed to be a good idea, (especially) when people on the other side (the university) were being reasonable and weren’t awful people.

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Hassett vs. Leeds General Infirmary (LGI)

Hassett vs. Leeds General Infirmary (LGI)

Man Claims he Became Psychotic on Accutane

Luke Hassett, 22, who was diagnosed as being a paranoid schizophrenic after taking Roaccutane, is to sue Leeds General Infirmary and the clinician who prescribed him the drug.

Hassett vs. Leeds General Infirmary (LGI)

4/29/2002

Man Claims he Became Psychotic on Accutane

http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/health/story.jsp?story=289945

A patient is suing a hospital for giving him a controversial acne drug similar to the one prescribed to an American teenager who flew an aeroplane into the 28th floor of a skyscraper in a copycat 11 September attack.

Luke Hassett, 22, who was diagnosed as being a paranoid schizophrenic after taking Roaccutane, is to sue Leeds General Infirmary and the clinician who prescribed him the drug. Mr Hassett, one of hundreds of UK patients who claim to have suffered long-term adverse side-effects from taking the drug, decided to act after it was confirmed that Charles Bishop, the 15-year-old who flew into the Bank of America Plaza in Tampa, Florida, in January, had been taking Accutane, the American brand.

Last week lawyers for the Bishop family launched a $70m (£48m) law suit against Roche, makers of the drug, alleging that the medication was responsible for causing their son to commit suicide.

Labelling on Roaccutane in the UK and Accutane in the US warns that the drug can cause “depression, psychosis and, rarely, suicidal ideation, suicide attempts and suicide”. Other side-effects include painful joints, headaches and hair loss. The drug is extremely effective in many cases, but it has been linked to at least 138 suicides and many more suicide attempts.

Mr Hassett, who now lives in a psychiatric unit in Trafford General Hospital, Manchester, had no history of mental problems before he was prescribed Roaccutane for what he claims was mild acne in 1999. Subsequently, he became psychotic and had to be sectioned under the Mental Health Act. He is now on anti-psychotic medication and is allowed home for just four hours each day.

According to a US Food and Drugs Administration memo on Accutane issued in 1990: “The magnitude of injury and death has been great and permanent, with 11,000 to 13,000 Accutane-related abortions and 900 to 1,100 Accutane-related birth defects.” In the UK, where tens of thousands of young people have been treated, there have been around 1,200 “adverse drug reactions” reported to the Medicines Control Agency, including 15 suicides.

Mr Hassett is being backed by Roaccutane action groups in the UK and Ireland, which have around 2,000 members reporting long-term adverse side-effects from taking the drug. They believe a court action will help them gain access to early research into Roaccutane.

The dermatological unit at Leeds has been at the forefront of research into Roaccutane. Trials there, which Roche helped to fund, were instrumental in the drug being given a licence in 1983. However, that licence states that it may be prescribed only for severe forms of acne.

But, in the UK, inquiries by The Independent have established that Roaccutane is routinely prescribed for use beyond the purpose for which it was licensed in 1983. Then, it was approved for “cystic and conglobate acne and severe acne which has failed to respond to an adequate course of antibiotics”.

Between 1983 and 1986 at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) dermatological unit, where Mr Hassett was treated, 79 per cent of prescriptions for Roaccutane went to people suffering from severe acne. By 1995, however, according to a paper published by the Leeds team, 74 per cent of Roaccutane prescriptions were being given to the LGI patients with only mild or moderate forms of the condition and only 16 per cent of the total prescribed were severe sufferers.

Campaigners say that prescribing of the drug should return to the limitations laid down in its licence until more research is carried out.
The hospital in Leeds said it could not comment while under threat of legal action. A spokeswoman for Roche said there was no evidence of any side-effects attributable to the drug.

“We have had external scientists and internal scientists look into the side-effects and we have found no causal relationship between Roaccutane and any psychiatric events, from depression to suicide.”

Roche said many of the people likely to take Roaccutane–emotional adolescents with low self-esteem caused by acne–were more likely to become depressed than the average youngster.

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Culberson vs. Pfizer

Culberson vs. Pfizer

Jury: Pfizer Drug Did Not Cause Woman’s Death

Reuters

A jury on Monday found that the prescription drug Rezulin did not contribute to the death of a diabetic woman who died in January 2000, Pfizer Inc., whose subsidiary Warner-Lambert made the drug, said.
Culberson vs. Pfizer

12/17/2001

Jury: Pfizer Drug Did Not Cause Woman’s Death

http://www.reuters.com/news_article.jhtml?type=sciencenews&StoryID=461150

Reuters

The last thing that diabetics need is a drug that causes liver failure, yet that is precisely the kind of drug the FDA approved for diabetes patients.

“According to the FDA, an estimated 1.9 million patients with diabetes were prescribed Rezulin, with fewer than 100 reported acute liver failures leading to death or transplant as of the drug’s withdrawal in March 2000 following the introduction of two newer medicines of the same class.”

This case against this drug demonstrates that the public is unprotected from deadly, FDA-approved drugs. The FDA is no longer rigorous in its new speedy drug evaluation an approval process. As was revealed in the Pulitzer Prize winning series by David Willman in The Los Angeles Times, [1998-2001], the FDA has been approving harmful, even deadly drugs in rapid succession.

The case demonstrates how difficult it is for individuals to successfully sue the Goliath pharmaceutical industry. Is this the best service our government can provide to the citizens of this country?

ALLIANCE FOR HUMAN RESEARCH PROTECTION (AHRP) Contact: Vera Hassner Sharav Tel: 212-595-8974 veracare@rcn.com

A jury on Monday found that the prescription drug Rezulin did not contribute to the death of a diabetic woman who died in January 2000, Pfizer Inc., whose subsidiary Warner-Lambert made the drug, said.

The verdict, in District Court in Harris County, was the first jury decision in litigation involving thousands of claims against the diabetes drug Rezulin, including current trials in Liberty, Missouri, and Corpus Christi, Texas.

The drug, now withdrawn, has been blamed in 63 liver failure deaths worldwide for the period from 1997 to 2000 during which it was sold.

Norma Culberson, 58, had diabetes and took Rezulin, approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1997 for the treatment of Type II diabetes, which affects about 15 million Americans, starting in late 1997 for a period of about two years, according to trial testimony.

Lawyers for Culberson’s daughters, who were seeking $25 million in damages, argued that the drug damaged her liver, leading to a coma and her eventual death in January 2000.

But Pfizer, the world’s largest drugmaker, argued that the risks from a drug like Rezulin had to be weighed against the threat posed by a disease like diabetes.

“Insulin has 395 deaths in every 100,000 patients,” attorney Jack Urquhart he told jurors. “Why do we tolerate 395 deaths in every 100,000 with insulin? There is no replacement right now,” he said.

Culberson’s death certificate listed kidney or renal failure due to diabetes as cause of death, with liver damage as a secondary factor.

Paul Miller, executive vice president and general counsel for Pfizer said in a statement “We are pleased … that the jury in Houston differentiated between the kidney failure which was the immediate cause of Norma Culberson’s death and the positive role Rezulin played in treating her diabetes.”

Pfizer, which affirmed on Monday it expects earnings to grow at least 20 percent next year, closed up $0.89 or 2.26 percent to $40.33.

“From June 2000, when Pfizer acquired Warner-Lambert,” Miller added, “we have clearly stated that Pfizer is committed to the fair and reasonable resolution, without litigation, of claims arising from those very rare injuries experienced by Rezulin patients.

“We have also said that, in cases where the alleged harm has not been demonstrably caused by Rezulin or where the plaintiff makes excessive demands, Pfizer will go to trial.” Other cases have been settled out of court with undisclosed terms.

The trial began on Nov. 27.

According to the FDA, an estimated 1.9 million patients with diabetes were prescribed Rezulin, with fewer than 100 reported acute liver failures leading to death or transplant as of the drug’s withdrawal in March 2000 following the introduction of two newer medicines of the same class.

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Baum, Hedlund, Aristei, Guilford & Schiavo vs. Glaxo Smithkline Corporation

Baum, Hedlund, Aristei, Guilford & Schiavo vs. Glaxo Smithkline Corporation

Anti-depressant ‘addicts’ threaten legal case

Sarah Boseley, Health Editor
The Guardian (UK)

More than 60 people in Britain who say they have become hooked on the anti-depressant Seroxat – a drug in the Prozac class – are exploring the possibility of legal action against the pharmaceutical company which they claim failed to warn doctors that that it could create dependency.
Baum, Hedlund, Aristei, Guilford & Schiavo vs. Glaxo Smithkline Corporation

12/10/2001

Anti-depressant ‘addicts’ threaten legal case

http://www.guardian.co.uk/Print/0,3858,4316527,00.html

Sarah Boseley, Health Editor
The Guardian (UK)

The Guardian (U.K.) reports that British lawyers are considering legal action similar to the actions taken in the U.S. against GlaxoSmithKline, the British manufacturers of the antidepressant drug, Paxil.

The issues involve patients who claim they have not been warned about severe withdrawal symptoms from antidepressant drugs, such as Prozac and Paxil. “The side-effects they suffer when they try to stop taking the tablets, include jolting pains in the head, vertigo, loss of coordination, abdominal discomfort, agitation and confusion.”

Since filing two class action lawsuits (August 24, 2001 and Sept 14, 2001), the Los Angeles law firm, Baum, Hedlund, Aristei, Guilford and Schiavo, has received more than 2,000 calls from people to tell of their addiction to Paxil.

If antidepressant drugs such as Prozac and Paxil are addictive, why has the FDA not required a warning on the label of these drugs? If they are addictive for adults, what are they doing to America’s children–even infants–who are prescribed psychotropic drugs?

ALLIANCE FOR HUMAN RESEARCH PROTECTION (AHRP) Contact: Vera Hassner Sharav Tel: 212-595-8974 FAX: 212-595-9086 veracare@rcn.com

To learn more, go to http://www.baumhedlundlaw.com.

More than 60 people in Britain who say they have become hooked on the anti-depressant Seroxat – a drug in the Prozac class – are exploring the possibility of legal action against the pharmaceutical company which they claim failed to warn doctors that that it could create dependency.

Two firms of solicitors say they already have between 30 and 40 cases each. The people have come forward following news of a legal case in the US in which 35 people allege they suffered severe side-effects when they tried to stop taking the drug.

The Los Angeles law firm Baum, Hedlund, Aristei, Guilford and Schiavo – which filed its action against the British manufacturers GlaxoSmithKline in September – has since had more than 2,000 calls from people to tell of their addiction to the drug, which is known in the US as Paxil. The side-effects they suffer when they try to stop taking the tablets, include jolting pains in the head, vertigo, loss of coordination, abdominal discomfort, agitation and confusion.

The US lawyers have asked GSK to set up treatment centres to help people attempting to withdraw from Paxil/Seroxat. GSK say there is no reliable scientific evidence that the drug causes addiction or dependency.

The British solicitors, Ross & Co, based in the Wirral, and Hugh James Ford Simey of Cardiff, have been receiving calls from people who did not realise that others had suffered the same symptoms when they tried to cut down and come off the drug.

“We have been contacted by 30 to 40 people, most of whom have startlingly similar tales to tell of being put on the drug and being taken off it, and then going back on,” said Mark Harvey of Hugh James Ford Simey.

Mr Harvey said most people are told by the doctor that their problems are the symptoms of their depression re-appearing and do not suspect that the drug might be to blame. “This does have the smell of something that is a problem,” he said. “The patient information sheet says it is not addictive twice.”

Graham Ross, of Ross & Co, thinks that there is a good potential case against the manufacturers. “So far as evidence of dependency is concerned, that is pretty strong,” he said.

“I feel we can prove that. Failure to ensure that GPs are aware of that risk and therefore warn patients accordingly – there is plenty of evidence that they are not doing that.”

But group actions face particular problems in Britain. Attempts to litigate against the makers of benzodiazapines – including Valium, Librium and Ativan, which were also said not to be addictive when they were launched – collapsed because the legal aid granted to the claimants was used up in the lengthy investigations of the cases demanded by the companies before the action reached court.

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Baum, Hedlund, Aristei, Guilford & Schiavo vs. Glaxo Smithkline Corporation

Baum, Hedlund, Aristei, Guilford & Schiavo vs. Glaxo Smithkline Corporation

Suit: Antidepressant is Addictive

A lawsuit contends the manufacturer of the popular anti-depressant Paxil concealed evidence that the drug can be addictive

Baum, Hedlund, Aristei, Guilford & Schiavo vs. Glaxo Smithkline Corporation

8/25/2001

Suit: Antidepressant is Addictive

http://dailynews.yahoo.com/htx/ap/20010825/us/paxil_suit_1.html

To learn more, go to http://www.baumhedlundlaw.com

A lawsuit contends the manufacturer of the popular anti-depressant Paxil concealed evidence that the drug can be addictive.

The lawsuit was filed Friday on behalf of 35 people from around the country who say they suffered symptoms ranging from electric-like shocks to suicidal thoughts after discontinuing use of the drug.

The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status and unspecified damages, says GlaxoSmithkline PLC concealed the possibility of physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms from the drug. It alleges fraud, deceit, negligence, liability, and breach of warranty.

There was no immediate comment from the British-based company. Calls to its U.S. offices after business hours Friday were not returned.

Introduced on the U.S. market in 1992, Paxil is the country’s second-largest selling anti-depressant.

Paul Domb, 42, of Miami, said that after he stopped taking Paxil last year, he suffered from convulsions, night sweats, and suicidal thoughts for about six weeks.

He said he thought the problems had to do with recent heart surgery, but after researching his symptoms he concluded they were caused by his withdrawal from Paxil.

“I stopped taking this drug … and it destroyed me. It almost killed me,” he said.

In June, a Wyoming jury awarded $8 million in damages to the family of a man after determining that Paxil caused him to kill his wife, daughter and granddaughter before committing suicide.

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Baum, Hedlund, Aristei, Guilford & Schiavo vs. Glaxo Smithkline Corporation

Baum, Hedlund, Aristei, Guilford & Schiavo vs. Glaxo Smithkline Corporation

Victims File Lawsuit over Severe Withdrawal Reactions from the Antidepressant–PaxilFirst Class Action of its Kind Against an Antidepressant Maker

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Baum, Hedlund, Aristei, Guilford & Schiavo 12100 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 950 Los Angeles, CA 90025

Contact: Robin McCall, Media Relations Day: (800) 827-0087 or (310) 207-3233 Night: (818) 558-5964 Email: RMcCall@BaumHedlundLaw.com

35 people who have suffered from severe withdrawal reactions as a result of taking the antidepressant Paxil, filed a class action complaint today in California Superior Court, LA County, against Glaxo Smithkline Corporation (GSK), formerly known as SmithKline Beecham.

Baum, Hedlund, Aristei, Guilford & Schiavo vs. Glaxo Smithkline Corporation

8/24/2001

Victims File Lawsuit over Severe Withdrawal Reactions from the Antidepressant–PaxilFirst Class Action of its Kind Against an Antidepressant Maker

http://www.baumhedlundlaw.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Baum, Hedlund, Aristei, Guilford & Schiavo 12100 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 950 Los Angeles, CA 90025

Contact: Robin McCall, Media Relations Day: (800) 827-0087 or (310) 207-3233 Night: (818) 558-5964 Email: RMcCall@BaumHedlundLaw.com

The lawsuit against the makers of Paxil for the potentially disabling and deadly withdrawal effects associated with Paxil has now been officially filed. This is clearly a suit that should be filed against the makers of all of these serotonergic antidepressants and DEFINITELY one that should have been filed against the makers of the serotonergic diet pills, Fen-Phen and Redux. What a crime it was to drop all of those Fen-Phen and Redux users off “cold turkey” when they were withdrawn forcing so many onto the serotonergic antidepressants creating additional damage and leading them into an additional serotonin nightmare. Why were patients not allowed to withdraw gradually?

All of these companies who put these extremely addictive drugs on the market with no warning of the addictive properties should be held accountable for the results of that lack of warning. The withdrawal from these serotonergic antidepressants, according to the World Health Organization, appears to be even worse than the benzodiazaphines – which already have one of the worst reputations for serious withdrawal. [Use the search engine to find our report on the World Health Organization’s statement that came out this spring.]

When we know that Ecstasy withdrawal can plunge users into the depths of depression we should not be the least bit surprised to learn that any of its chemical cohorts can do the same in withdrawal. All are serotonergic agents -Ecstasy, Prozac, LSD, Zoloft, PCP, Paxil, etc. – with similar effects due to the increase of serotonin and decrease of serotonin metabolism that they produce.

When one understands the steroid effect brought on by an increase in serotonin [one 30mg dose of Prozac DOUBLES cortisol levels!], it is not difficult to see that the initiation of use of these drugs should be very gradual as should the discontinuation be a very gradual process.

Contact information for the attorneys and links to additional information on the lawsuit is all listed in the press release that follows.

Ann Blake-TracyExecutive Director, International Coalition For Drug AwarenessAuthor of Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? – Our Serotonin Nightmare ()

To learn more, go to http://www.baumhedlundlaw.com.

35 people who have suffered from severe withdrawal reactions as a result of taking the antidepressant Paxil, filed a class action complaint today in California Superior Court, LA County, against Glaxo Smithkline Corporation (GSK), formerly known as SmithKline Beecham. This group represents thousands of Paxil users who have allegedly suffered from withdrawal reactions and dependency/withdrawal syndrome. They come from all walks of life (e.g., Lt. Col in the U.S. Air Force; former star athlete; web-designer; children; bank fraud investigator and many more) and reside throughout the United States. Each has experienced similar withdrawal reactions and problems such as: jolting electric “zaps,” dizziness, light-headedness, vertigo, in-coordination, gait disturbances, sweating, extreme nausea, vomiting, high fever, abdominal discomfort, flu symptoms, anorexia, diarrhea, agitation, tremulousness, irritability, aggression, sleep disturbance, nightmares, tremor, confusion, memory and concentration difficulties, lethargy, malaise, weakness, fatigue, paraesthesias, ataxia, and/or myalgia.

Paxil was introduced into the U.S. market on December 29, 1992, and is a well known antidepressant medication in the same class as Zoloft and Prozac (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or “SSRI’s”). Paxil is approved for marketing in the United States for conditions such as depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and “social anxiety disorder.”

Complaint Allegations: 1) The complaint alleges Paxil can cause some people who take it to experience serious and unexpected withdrawal reactions. Neither the patients nor the physicians expect these withdrawal reactions because, according to the complaint, the manufacturer has deliberately failed to warn of their potential occurrence. Both physician and patient unwittingly commit to Paxil without knowing the drug’s addictive traits. None of the named plaintiffs were ever informed before starting Paxil that it was addictive, induced dependency, or created withdrawal reactions when dosage was reduced or terminated.

2) Paxil creates both physical and psychological dependency because GSK has suppressed the information about the severe withdrawal reactions of its drug, many patients and their physicians are fooled into thinking that the withdrawal reactions are caused by another condition (such as relapse), thus prompting further incorrect and unnecessary medical treatment, including increased dosages of Paxil. 3) GSK has known for years the distinct characteristics of Paxil which make it prone to cause withdrawal reactions when discontinued. While the medical community has acknowledged the potential for all SSRI’s to cause dependency/withdrawal syndrome, Paxil is, by far, the worst. According to World Health Organization (“WHO”) data obtained by the plaintiff class members, Paxil has the highest incidence rate of withdrawal adverse experiences of any antidepressant drug in the world. “Even despite our clients’ extreme difficulties caused by this drug, some remain on Paxil today because they are “hooked” and fear they cannot get off the drug,” says attorney Mary Schiavo.

The complaint charges include fraud and deceit, negligence, strict liability, breach of warranty and implied warranty which can be seen on the complaint.

The lawsuit was filed by Karen Barth (in association with Mary Schiavo) of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei, Guilford & Schiavo in Los Angeles and Donald Farber of San Rafael, California.

The attorneys have stated, “The scariest part about this is that there are people out there trying to get off this drug who are experiencing these horrible withdrawal reactions. They think its because of something wrong with them, when it’s really the Paxil – – and then they take even more and further exacerbate the problem!”

Fact Sheet is available on the web along with the complaint at www.baumhedlundlaw.com

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Donald Schell vs. SmithKline Beecham

Donald Schell vs. SmithKline Beecham

Judge Denies Rehearing in Drug Case

Associated Press

A federal judge denied a request by the maker of Paxil for a new trial in the case of a man who killed himself and three family members after taking the anti-depressant drug.
Donald Schell vs. SmithKline Beecham

8/11/2001

Judge Denies Rehearing in Drug Case

http://wire.ap.org/?FRONTID=HOME&SITE=CALOS&enter=Go

Associated Press

GlaxoSmithKline asked that they be granted a new trial in the case of the murder/suicide where the family was awarded $8 million for the deaths of four members of the Donald Schell family and the Tim Tobin family. They tried to say that Dr. David Healy who testified as an expert for the Schell and Tobin families contradicted himself in the trial. (Wow! I wonder if he looked at someone cross-eyed too?! Talk about grasping for straws!)

On Thursday Federal Judge William Beaman turned down their request stating that “the verdict was supported by reliable scientific data and that jury instructions were proper.”

Obviously GlaxoSmithKline has not been as successful at buying the verdict they desired as Lilly was in the Wesbecker murder/suicide case in Kentucky. But they assure us that they will not give up as yet. They will now head for Denver to see what they can accomplish there.

You see, as long as they can put up a strong front, they can postpone the inevitable landslide of future lawsuits against their “golden goose.” The stalling pays off in another way as well with every day bringing in another $7 million or so in profits on Paxil. It all comes back to $$$$$. Clearly loss of human life is not what matters to GlaxoSmithKline or Lilly, or Pfizer, or Solvay, etc., etc., etc.

Ann Blake-Tracy, Executive DirectorInternational Coalition For Drug AwarenessAuthor of Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? – Our Serotonin Nightmare July 2001 Edition – (1-)

A federal judge denied a request by the maker of Paxil for a new trial in the case of a man who killed himself and three family members after taking the anti-depressant drug.

In June, a jury determined that taking Paxil prompted Donald Schell to kill his wife, daughter, granddaughter and himself in 1998. It awarded $8 million in damages to Schell’s relatives.

Jurors returned the verdict in a civil wrongful death suit against SmithKline Beecham, the manufacturer of Paxil, the country’s second-largest selling anti-depressant. The company is now called GlaxoSmithKline PLC.

Attorneys for the company had asked U.S. Magistrate Judge William C. Beaman to overturn the jury award or allow a retrial.

The company must pay $6.4 million of the $8 million total, because the jury ruled that it was 80 percent responsible for the deaths, while Schell was 20 percent liable.

The company’s request was based in part on what it called the unreliability of the plaintiffs’ expert witness, Dr. David Healy, saying his testimony contradicted what he wrote in professional articles.

Beaman turned down the request Thursday, saying the verdict was supported by reliable scientific data and that jury instructions were proper.

GlaxoSmithKline will appeal to the U.S. 10th Circuit Court in Denver, attorney Tom Gorman said.

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Donald Schell vs. SmithKline Beecham

Donald Schell vs. SmithKline Beecham

Paxil Maker Ordered to Pay $8 Million – Jury Says Anti-depressant Largely to Blame for Deadly Shooting Spree

The Associated Press

The manufacturer of the nation’s second-best-selling anti-depressant must pay $8 million to the relatives of a man who killed himself and three others after taking the drug Paxil, jurors said.

Donald Schell vs. SmithKline Beecham

6/6/2001

Paxil Maker Ordered to Pay $8 Million – Jury Says Anti-depressant Largely to Blame for Deadly Shooting Spree

http://abcnews.go.com/sections/living/dailynews/paxil010606.html
The Associated Press

The manufacturer of the nation’s second-best-selling anti-depressant must pay $8 million to the relatives of a man who killed himself and three others after taking the drug Paxil, jurors said.

Jurors in U.S. District Court considering the wrongful death civil suit returned a verdict against SmithKline Beecham today. They received the case Tuesday afternoon. Relatives of Donald Schell, 60, claim the man, originally from Gillette, Wyo., took two Paxil tablets before shooting his wife, their daughter, his granddaughter and himself to death on Feb. 13, 1998.

The survivors’ lead attorney, Andy Vickery, had asked the jury to award a total of $25 million in damages.

Besides Schell, the victims were his wife, Rita Schell, 55; their daughter, Deborah Tobin, 31; and Alyssa Tobin, 9 months. Tobin’s widower, Tim Tobin, and Donald Schell’s sister, Neva Hardy, filed the wrongful-death lawsuit.

Vickery also asked the jury to award damages to Michael Schell, the Schells’ adult son, and to Rita Schell’s mother.

The jury awarded damages in varied amounts for each death, with the largest awards $2.5 million each for the deaths of Deborah and Alyssa Tobin going to Tim Tobin.

Jury Said Drug Maker 80 Percent to Blame

In its findings, the jury concluded that Paxil could cause someone to commit suicide or homicide and that the drug was in fact a proximate cause of the deaths in this case.

The jury attributed 80 percent of the fault in the case to the drug maker and 20 percent to Donald Schell.

A call seeking comment from representatives of the drug company was not immediately returned today.

In closing arguments, Vickery said Paxil can produce suicidal and homicidal reactions in a small number of people.

“Since 1990, SmithKline Beecham knew there was a small group at risk and Don Schell was one of those vulnerable people,” he said.

The company, now GlaxoSmithKline PLC, failed to provide adequate label warnings about the possibility of violent reactions, nor did it adequately test for the risk of such reactions, he said.

Company: Drug Didn’t Have a Chance to Work

Attorneys for the company maintained that Paxil is a safe treatment for depression.

“It’s plain from the facts, science and common sense,” Charles Preuss said in closing arguments. “Don Schell’s escalating depression caused this.

“The real tragedy is Paxil didn’t have a chance to do its job and save lives,” he said. “Paxil could have saved four lives in Gillette.”

Vickery said Schell told people he hallucinated when he took Prozac a decade earlier. Preuss said Schell went through five previous bouts of depression that kept him out of work, but Schell did not follow the recommendations of at least three psychiatrists.

Also, he said, Schell had been coping with the death of his father-in-law and brother and had problems at work regarding a threatened lawsuit.

Doctors from across the United States and from England were called to testify during the 2 1&Mac218;2-week trial.

Central nervous system drugs like Paxil are GlaxoSmithKline’s biggest product group. GlaxoSmithKline’s world headquarters are in London and its U.S. research operations are based in Philadelphia.

Copyright 2001 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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07/19/1999 – My antidepressant made me do it! – Hartman estate says

The following article makes its first appearance today (7/19/99) on
salon.com:

My antidepressant made me do it!
The Hartman estate says Zoloft was to blame for a murder-suicide.
By Rob Waters

(http://www.salon.com/health/feature/1999/07/19/zoloft/index.html)

My antidepressant made me do it!

The Hartman estate says Zoloft was
to blame for a murder-suicide.

– – – – – – – – – – – –
By Rob Waters

July 19, 1999 | It was May 1998, and comedian Phil Hartman and his wife, Brynn, were planning a party. Their son, Sean, was soon turning 10 and they wanted to make it special with a bash at Planet Hollywood. Brynn was inviting her son’s friends, including some of his classmates from his school in Encino.

In mid-May she called Kathryn Alice, the mother of one of Sean’s friends, to get her address. Sean and Calvin, Kathryn’s son, played together and had visited each other’s homes. Through their sons, the moms had gotten to know each other, too. They chatted on the phone, and Brynn confided that things were tough. “She said she was barely hanging on by a thread,” Alice recalls. “I told her things will get better, but she said ‘I don’t know.'”

The invitation soon arrived in the mail, but the birthday party never happened. On May 28, at about 2:30 a.m., Brynn Hartman returned home from a night out with a female friend. As Sean and his sister, Birgen, slept in their rooms, Brynn entered the master bedroom and shot her sleeping husband three times. Four hours later, with police in the house and friends listening outside, Brynn lay down on the bed next to Phil’s body and pulled the trigger once more, killing herself.

How could this happen? Why did a woman who was, by all accounts, a devoted and protective mother, deprive her children of their parents? In the days after the killings, the tabloids and mainstream press ruminated over the problems in the couple’s often stormy relationship, speculating that Phil was preparing to leave her, or that she had relapsed into an old cocaine addiction. People magazine reported that she had recently started drinking again after 10 years of near-sobriety and had checked into an Arizona rehab clinic earlier in the year. Indeed, toxicology reports cited in press accounts indicate that at the time she died, Brynn Hartman had both cocaine and alcohol in her system.

But the couple’s family and their lawyers have another answer: Zoloft made her do it.

In late May 1999, one year after the deaths, attorneys for the Hartmans’ estate and children filed a lawsuit against Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant that makes Zoloft, a new-generation antidepressant similar to Prozac. The suit contends that Brynn Hartman’s violent outburst was caused by a rare but previously documented side effect of the medication that left her agitated, jittery and “out of touch with reality.” It is one of more than 170 wrongful death lawsuits filed against the makers of these new antidepressants since Prozac first hit the market 12 years ago.

The Hartman suit also charges that Arthur Sorosky, the psychiatrist that supplied Brynn Hartman with Zoloft, was not really her doctor and never conducted an evaluation. Sorosky, the complaint alleges, was actually her son Sean’s doctor and gave Brynn medication samples — the kind doled out to physicians by drug company salesmen — “without the benefit of a history and physical examination [or] diagnosis.”

Sorosky’s attorney, Joel Douglas, told Salon Health that his client and Brynn Hartman had “a doctor-patient relationship” and that Sorosky had prescribed the Zoloft in a proper and appropriate way. “From what I understand,” he added, “with cocaine and alcohol in her system, you don’t need to look for Zoloft to understand what happened.”

Original report on murder/suicide: http://www.cnn.com/SHOWBIZ/TV/9805/28/hartman/

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