From The Washington Post: “Prozac ‘was deemed highly beneficial and safe by a large constituency of psychiatrists and general physicians,’ John Cornwell wrote in his 1996 book The Power to Harm: Mind, Medicine, and Murder on Trial. ‘The drug tended to tackle depression swiftly … and it was widely thought to produce fewer side effects than other antidepressants.’
In 1989, what side effects Joseph Wesbecker had experienced became the question.
. . . according to one employee at the Louisville printing plant, Wesbecker had problems with the drug.
‘He said himself that it made him feel like he had bugs in his head,’ Mike Campbell told a Louisville TV station of Wesbecker in 2019. ‘The Prozac exacerbated what was going on with him at that time. That was not a good drug for him.’
. . . Following the deadly attack, survivors and victims’ families filed a suit against Eli Lilly, alleging that Prozac contributed to Wesbecker’s massacre. The company, according to a CNN report, was aware of data as early as 1988 that showed 3.7 percent of patients on the drug attempted suicide — a rate 12 times higher than on four other commonly prescribed antidepressants — and an elevated number reported incidents of hostility.
That information, however, was not disclosed at the 1994 Kentucky trial, during which the plaintiffs argued the drug caused agitation in some people. The jury decided in favor of Eli Lilly.
The case highlighted ‘the gulf between authentic public health needs and the commercial goals of the pharmaceutical industry; the public’s right to know the unadorned truth about medication and the pharmaceutical industry’s tendency to hold selective information in the interest of corporate aims,’ Cornwell wrote in his book.”
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