Sunday, August 24, 2008

Wyeth sued by ten families for Effexor suicides/violence

This is at Justiceseekers on October, 2005:

For Immediate Release
October 25, 2005

"Ten families from across the United States have joined forces to bring wrongful death and personal injury suits against the drug giant Wyeth alleging that their respective family members committed impulsive acts of violence - mostly suicides-or attempted them-shortly after taking Wyeth's best-selling drug, Effexor.

The suit was filed in Federal Court in Philadelphia, near Wyeth's corporate headquarters in Collegeville, Pa. The suit alleges that Wyeth's drug Effexor-an antidepressant-was responsible for the deaths of eight people and for injuries to three other teenagers. The average length of time that the patients took the drug before their deaths was ten days.

Citing Wyeth's own clinical trial data, the lawsuit also alleges that Wyeth knew for years that hostility and self-harm were side effects of Effexor but made a conscious decision not to warn prescribing physicians or consumers, fearing a loss of market share in the multi-billion dollar anti-depressant industry.

For over a decade, information has emerged linking antidepressant drugs like Effexor to homicide and suicide, but Wyeth and other drug companies shrugged it off, arguing that the suicides were caused by the depression, not their drug. The scientific and medical data of the connection between the SSRI's and suicide became so convincing, however, that the Food and Drug Administration in September of 2004 ordered BLACK BOX WARNINGS regarding the causal relationship between the drugs and adolescent and child suicides. In July of this year, the FDA expanded the warning to encompass the increased risk that anti-depressants pose to adults. Canada's drug regulatory agency-Health Canada-has also required warnings regarding the suicide risks of these drugs for all patients. Similar warnings have been required by European agencies.

The families are co-represented by the Philadelphia firm of FELDMAN & PINTO and the Houston, Texas firm of VICKERY & WALDNER. Further information, and a copy of the lawsuit itself, can be obtained from www.JusticeSeekers.com. The lawsuit does not seek any specific amount in damages, but seeks a determination that Effexor causes suicide in some patients who have never been known to be suicidal before they took the drug and a finding regarding Wyeth's "fault" for failing to warn about that risk. "After a Philadelphia jury determines what the FDA has already found to exist," said Andy Vickery of the Houston firm, "the Court can then consider whether to remand each family to their home federal district for individual trials on specific causation and damages." The Plaintiff families live in Florida, Georgia, Colorado, North Carolina, Texas, Washington, California, Wisconsin and Alaska. "Filing the initial suit in Wyeth's home town," said Vickery, "avoids contradictory findings and is certainly the fairest and most economical way to proceed with these claims."

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