Drug Company Found 80% Guilty of Murder

A jury in Wyoming found the British based drug company GlaxoSmithKline 80% accountable for a household murder - suicide committed by a patient taking a drug made by the company. The drug was was an anti depressant marketed as Praxil in the United States and Seroxat in Britain.

In accordance with the report published inside the June 16, 2001 publication of the British Medical Journal, a 60 year old Wyoming man who had been struggling with episodic depression but who was not showing any warning signs of homicidal or suicidal tendencies was prescribed the drug. Many years earlier he was given Prozac, but was taken off the drug because he became agitated. In February of 1998 he was placed on Praxil for mild depression. Within many weeks he then went on his murderous rampage. In the trial several experts were brought in to testify including Dr. David Healy, director of psychological medicine in Bangor, North Wales. Dr Healy testified that both their own research and the research of the drug maker GlaxoSmithKline both indicated that a complete 25% of healthy volunteers who were given this form of drug became "extremely agitated". Dr Healy also testified that in his own studies of volunteers who were not depressed who were given these drugs that only 33% felt better while on the drug, while 33% felt worse, and 33% felt no change. However, two previously non-suicidal and non-depressed volunteers became suicidal and depressed while on the drug.
The jury in the Wyoming case awarded the surviving family $6.4 million and discovered that the drug company was 80% accountable for the deaths. This court decision is the very first time that a drug company was held accountable for suicidal and homicidal actions of patients who were using it's product. Representatives of GlaxoSmithKline said that they were surprised by the verdict and continue to state the drug is safe.

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