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Texas Jury Rules in Favor of Upjohn in Halcion Suit

March 13, 1993

DETROIT (AP) _ A jury ruled in favor of Kalamazoo-based Upjohn Co. on Friday in a lawsuit alleging its sleep aid, Halcion, prompted the stabbing of a man in San Antonio.

Jurors said the company could not be held responsible for the 1987 stabbing of William Harley because there was no proof the assailant actually took the drug.

Harley’s throat was slashed by a mental patient while he sat in a San Antonio hospital emergency room. He survived and sued the drug maker with his wife, Sandra, in 1989.

Halcion has been linked by critics to serious side effects, including short-term memory loss, violent behavior and hallucinations. But the federal Food and Drug Administration concluded in 1992 it was safe and effective when used as directed. Upjohn has faced several lawsuits around the country over the drug, with differing verdicts.

The Harleys said Joe Castleman Jr. was under the influence of the drug when he attacked Harley. But the jury found there was no proof Castleman, a paranoid schizophrenic, ever actually took the drug. Castleman died in 1989.

The Harleys’ attorney, Thad Harkins, said the jury never touched on the issue of Halcion’s safety. A decision on whether to appeal has not been made.

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