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Upjohn libel case over “wild” claims opens in court

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: (Published 22 January 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:221
  1. C Dyer

    The long awaited trial in Britain of the libel action brought by Upjohn, makers of the sleeping pill Halcion (triazolam) against the drug's long time critic Ian Oswald and the BBC opened in the High Court on Monday. Upjohn is suing Professor Oswald, emeritus professor of psychiatry at Edinburgh University, and the BBC over allegations that the company fraudulently concealed side effects of Halcion from drug regulatory authorities. The company is seeking substantial damages and injunctions to stop the claims from being repeated.

    The case, which is expected to last three or four months, will be one of the longest and most complicated libel actions to come to trial in Britain. So voluminous and complex are the documents that the case is being tried by a judge alone, without a jury.

    The High Court action will focus on whether Upjohn deliberately misled drug regulators about protocol 321, one of the earliest clinical trials of Halcion, which was carried out in 1972, and otherwise played …

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