As of May 20, 2004
, Bristol-Myers Squibb
's antidepressant drug Serzone
, which has been tied to patient deaths and liver damage and, more recently, has experienced steadily declining sales, is being pulled from the market next month. In a letter to wholesale distributors on Tuesday, Bristol-Myers
said it would stop manufacturing and distributing Serzone and 16 other medicines effective June 14.
Public Citizen, a nonprofit advocacy group in Washington, D.C., filed a petition with the Food and Drug Administration last year seeking a ban on Serzone. The group sued earlier this year when the FDA failed to act on its petition.
As of May 20th, Bristol-Myers still has 182 lawsuits pending against it across the country related specifically to Serzone. Last year, Bristol-Myers took the drug off the market in Canada after health officials there raised concerns over 51 reports of liver injuries, including at least two patients who needed liver transplants. The drug was banned across Europe, and bans are going into effect in Australia and New Zealand.