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Two Widows Settle Halcion Lawsuits Against Upjohn

July 16, 1994 GMT

PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (AP) _ The Upjohn Co. has settled lawsuits filed by two widows who claim their husbands were driven to suicide by the sleeping drug Halcion.

The settlements were announced Friday. No details were released.

″It will help, but it can’t compensate for my husband,″ said Delores Messer, whose 68-year-old husband, Luther, shot himself in 1991.

Mrs. Messer and Mary Ann Johnson filed separate negligence lawsuits in 1992.

Mrs. Johnson said her 59-year-old husband, Billy, developed a persecution complex because of the drug and thought the CIA had planted a listening device in his intravenous needle. He killed himself in 1991.

Neither Upjohn’s lawyers nor company officials could be reached for comment Friday. Upjohn has said the drug is safe when used as recommended.

Once the most widely prescribed sleeping drug in the world, Halcion’s sales have plummeted since 1991, when questions were first raised about possible side effects.

About 100 lawsuits have been filed over Halcion. The Kalamazoo, Mich.-based Upjohn has settled some and has lost only one. In 1992, a jury found Upjohn partly responsible for the actions of a man who killed his best friend.