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Posted on Thu, Sep. 23, 2004

Maker of Prozac named in wrongful-death suit

The Associated Press

The paternal grandparents of a 10-year-old accused of fatally shooting his father filed a wrongful-death lawsuit Wednesday against the boy's mother, stepfather and the company that makes Prozac, which the boy was taking.

The lawsuit, filed in Galveston County, asserts that the anti-depressant made by Eli Lilly and Co. caused the boy to suffer "such a mental alteration that he shot and killed his father."

Dr. Rick Lohstroh, 41, was killed Aug. 27 after he picked up the 10-year-old and an 8-year-old son at his ex-wife's home in Katy. Lohstroh was an emergency room doctor at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.

Harris County sheriff's investigators reported that the 10-year-old got the gun from a zipped bag in his mother's closet. He climbed in the back seat and began shooting "through the back of the driver's seat striking his father."

The boy got out of the vehicle and continued shooting before going inside where his mother, Deborah Geisler, took the gun from him.

The lawsuit, filed by Richard and Joanne Greene, says that Lilly was negligent in failing to make sure that the drug was safe for all uses, committed fraud by failing to disclose information about Prozac's safety, made false representations about its product and breached the implied warranty that Prozac is "safe, effective and well-accepted for use by the consumer."

The lawsuit accuses Geisler and her husband, Matthew Swanson, of negligence.

Geisler, a registered nurse, "had a duty to administer the medication only as prescribed and to monitor her son for adverse reactions or side effects."

Also, the lawsuit says, the couple did not secure the handgun and ammunition and didn't properly supervise the boy, who had been taking Prozac about a month.

A Lilly spokesman declined to comment about the lawsuit, saying the company had not been notified of the lawsuit Wednesday afternoon. He said the company does not promote Prozac's use by pediatric patients.

In January 2003, the Food and Drug Administration approved its use for children older than 8 with major depressive disorders and those older than 7 with obsessive compulsive disorders.

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