Taylor vs. Solvay Pharmacueticals

Taylor vs. Solvay Pharmacueticals

Drug firm settles with Columbine victim

By Howard Pankratz hpankratz@denverpost.com
Denver Post Legal Affairs Writer

Columbine survivor Mark Taylor today dropped his lawsuit against the manufacturer of a drug he claimed made Eric Harris homicidal and suicidal in return for the company contributing $10,000 to the American Cancer Society.

Taylor vs. Solvay Pharmacueticals

2/6/2003

Drug firm settles with Columbine victim

http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1413,36%257E53%257E1162902%257E,00.html

By Howard Pankratz hpankratz@denverpost.com
Denver Post Legal Affairs Writer

Columbine survivor Mark Taylor today dropped his lawsuit against the manufacturer of a drug he claimed made Eric Harris homicidal and suicidal in return for the company contributing $10,000 to the American Cancer Society.

Under the terms of the settlement, Belgium-based Solvay Pharmacueticals won’t pay Taylor or his lawyers any money.

Taylor and Solvay executives agreed that dismissal of the lawsuit doesn’t mean either has waived from their contentions about the merits of Luvox. Taylor alleges Luvox is dangerous while Solvay says it has helped millions cope with depression.

“Mr. Taylor believes his claims had merit, but Solvay has always denied, and continues to deny, each of Taylor’s claims about Luvox,” said the agreement read in Denver federal court by U.S. District Judge Clarence Brimmer.

In accepting the settlement, Brimmer said he thought the case was one that needed to be settled and noted that a couple of years ago a Wyoming jury had issued an The $10,000 being given to the American Cancer Society is described as a “charitable donation” in the settlement.

“Both parties are pleased with the amicable resolution and dismissal of this case without the need of subjecting the Denver community and the victims of Columbine to a public trial of this case,” said the settlement.

Taylor just barely survived the April 20, 1999, Columbine rampage in which Harris and fellow student Dylan Klebold embarked on the nation’s deadliest school shooting.

Taylor was critically injured when Harris threw two pipebombs at him and unleashed a volley of shots that wounded Taylor at least six times.

Taylor was a sophomore at the time and saw Harris out of the corner of his eyes a fraction of a second before he was gunned down. Harris and Klebold fatally shot 12 students and a teacher before killing themselves.

One of Taylor’s experts, Dr. Peter Breggin, wrote in a report filed in U.S. District Court that he believed Luvox triggered Harris’ participation in the rampage.

“On April 20, 1999, at the time he committed multiple homicides and suicide, Eric Harris was suffering from a substance induced (Luvox-induced) mood disorder with depressive and manic features that had reached a psychotic level of violence and suicide,” Breggin wrote. “Absent persistent exposure to Luvox, Eric Harris probably would not have committed violence and suicide.”

Breggin contends that Luvox is one of a family of depressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that cause people to become violent. The SSRIs include Luvox, Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil.

But the drug manufacturers deny that the drugs cause such adverse affects and say they have been very helpful to those who use the medications.

Solvay believes that Harris was exhibiting violent tendencies long before he started taking Luvox.

The settlement came after a marathon, after-hours negotiating session Wednesday night presided over by U.S. Magistrate Patricia Coan. Present were Taylor, his mother Donna, Taylor’s lawyer Ron Miller and a legal team representing Solvay Pharmaceuticals, the Belgium-based company that makes Luvox.

The terms of the settlement were announced at what was to have been two days of pre-trial motions in front of U.S. District Judge Clarence Brimmer.

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Donald Schell vs. SmithKline Beecham

Donald Schell vs. SmithKline Beecham

Glaxo Raises White Flag, Settles Paxil Trial Appeal, and Pays Up

Rick Giombetti

In a bombshell comparable to the recent belated revelation of the disaster that hormone replacement therapy has been, I have learned that Paxil manufacturer Glaxo-Smith-Kline (GSK) has secretly settled its appeal of the ruling in the Paxil trial last year.
Donald Schell vs. SmithKline Beecham

7/23/2002

Glaxo Raises White Flag, Settles Paxil Trial Appeal, and Pays Up

http://www.counterpunch.org/giombetti0723.html

Rick Giombetti

In a bombshell comparable to the recent belated revelation of the disaster that hormone replacement therapy has been, I have learned that Paxil manufacturer Glaxo-Smith-Kline (GSK) has secretly settled its appeal of the ruling in the Paxil trial last year.

GSK was sued in federal district court in Cheyenne by family members of Donald Schell, the Gillette, Wyoming man who killed his wife, daughter, granddaughter and then himself on February 13, 1998 after two days on the pharmaceutical giant’s anti-anxiety/depression drug Paxil. The plaintiff’s position was that Paxil was the primary cause of Donald Schell’s actions in the murder-suicide. The jury agreed and the judge in the trial rejected GSK’s challenge of the validity of the scientific data presented to the jury by the plaintiff’s. As a public service I will be publishing the crucial expert testimony and cross examination of British psychiatrist and psychiatric historian David Healy soon.

GSK appealed the verdict in the case in Denver, but recently gave up, I have been told by Healy. The deal in the appeal settlement GSK made with the plaintiff’s calls for the company getting all of its documents back, and a set of confidentiality statements from the plaintiffs side to not release anymore details of the case not already in the public domain. This is an important development in the history of psychiatric medicine. The jury verdict forced GSK to cave in to the demands of the Medicines Control Agency, the British government agency that regulates prescription drugs, that it place a suicide warning on Paxil. GSK has had to place a suicide warning on Paxil in Britain for about a year now. Now the question remains will this same warning ever make it over to this side of the Atlantic, with as much publicity as the hormone replacement story has gotten? Not likely, I believe, but I hope I am wrong.

Even though there isn’t a widely publicized suicide warning being given for Paxil, or any other drug in its class, known as “Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors,” or “SSRI’s,” it’s not like there is a complete information black out about these newer generation psychiatric drugs in consumer prescription drug guides.

For example, in the recently published 10th edition of The Pill Book, it warns patients taking SSRI’s (i.e. Celexa, Luvox, Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft) that “The possibility of suicide exists in severely depressed patients and may be present until the condition is significantly improved. Severely depressed people should be allowed to carry only small quantities of SSRI’s to limit the risk of overdose.” The term “overdose” can just as easily be read as “killing themselves.” Also, “As many as 1/3 of people taking an SSRI experience anxiety, sleeplessness and nervousness.” In other words all the symptoms that can push a depressed person over the edge and into a suicide attempt. Finally, the recently published 5th edition of The Physicians’ Desk Reference Pocket Guide to Prescription Drugs warns patients considering taking the SSRI known as Zoloft “May also cause mental or emotional symptoms such as: Abnormal dreams or thoughts, aggressiveness, exaggerated feeling well-being, depersonalization (“unreal” feeling), hallucinations, impaired concentration, memory loss, paranoia, rapid mood shifts, SUICIDAL THOUGHTS, tooth-grinding, WORSENED DEPRESSION (emphasis is the authors).”

Now why on Earth are pharmaceutical companies allowed to get away with marketing these drugs as “anti-depressants,” or “anti-anxiety” agents when they can produce in patients exactly what they are supposed to treat at such high rates? This is the deeper question about the mass marketing of these drugs the mass media is simply avoiding by a combination of cowardice, laziness and just outright ignorance in reporting on these issues.

Rick Giombetti is a freelance writer who. lives in Seattle. Visit his website at: http://rjgiombetti.blogspot.com/. He can be reached at: rickjgio@speakeasy.net

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