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Jury Selection Begins In Trial Against Bayer

Dec 2, 2003 | AP

Jury selection began Monday in the civil trial of the makers of an anti-cholesterol drug that has been linked to about 100 deaths.

Billy G. Slaughter, 83, of Laurel, is suing pharmaceutical maker Bayer over its drug Baycol. He claims the drug is defective and "carried an unreasonably dangerous risk for severe muscle injury and death," according to a statement by an attorney for Slaughter.

Slaughter took the drug from October 2000 until March 2001, according to the suit, which represents only one side of an argument.

"Slaughter took the drug and suffered sudden and severe muscle weakness, causing him to fall down where he could not get up," his attorney said.

About 100 deaths and 1,600 injuries worldwide have been linked to a muscle disorder caused by the drug.

Bayer pulled the drug off shelves in 2001. The company faces about 11,000 lawsuits nationwide by people who used the drug before it was taken off the market.

There are 71 lawsuits in Mississippi against Bayer, although it could not be immediately determined how many involved Baycol, according to the state Administrative Office for Courts.

As of August, Bayer said it has paid out more than $432 million to settle 1,211 lawsuits involving the drug.

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