Wyoming jury awards $8 million to family of man involved in murder-suicide after taking Paxil

By Associated Press, 6/6/2001

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) Relatives of a man who killed himself and three family members after taking the drug Paxil were awarded $8 million in damages Wednesday.

Jurors returned the verdict in a civil wrongful death suit against SmithKline Beecham, the manufacturer of Paxil, the country's second-largest selling anti-depressant. The company is now called GlaxoSmithKline PLC. Relatives of Donald Schell, 60, claim he took two Paxil tablets before shooting to death his wife, their daughter, grand-daughter and himself Feb. 13, 1998.

Attorney Andy Vickery had asked the jury to award a total of $25 million in damages.

The suit was brought by the husband of Schell's daughter and Schell's sister.

An appeal is expected. ''We're surprised at the verdict in light of the overwhelming scientific evidence that shows that Paxil does not cause suicide or homicide,'' said Charles Preuss, attorney for the company.