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Jury finds drug 80% responsible for killings

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: (Published 16 June 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:1446
  1. Deborah Josefson
  1. San Francisco

    A US jury in Wyoming has found the British based pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline responsible for a spate of family murders and a suicide committed by a patient taking the antidepressant paroxetine, which is marketed as Paxil in the United States and Seroxat in the United Kingdom.

    The jury awarded $6.4m (£4.6m) to the surviving family of Donald Schell, a 60 year old man who killed his wife, daughter, and granddaughter before killing himself.

    Mr Schell reportedly suffered from episodic depression but had not expressed suicidal or homicidal ideation or violent behaviour before being prescribed paroxetine, an antidepressant of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor class. Several years earlier he had been prescribed fluoxetine (Prozac), a related drug, but he was taken off that because he became extremely agitated.

    In February …

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