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Could a prescribed drug cause insanity?

The Court of Appeals for Armed Forces (CAAF) has agreed to review an Army appellate case in which I am serving as the appellant’s counsel, U.S. v. Macdonald.  In April 2008, my client, Private First Class (PFC) Macdonald was prescribed Varenicline (popularly known as Chantix), to help him stop smoking.  Around the same time that the drug was prescribed to PFC Macdonald, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued some severe warnings, to include a “black box” warning, about this drug’s side effects.  These warnings include reports of “serious neuropsychiatric symptoms.”  Before his court-martial, the government issued a subpoena to Pfizer, Inc. to gather more specific information about the prescribed drug.  The military judge presiding over the court-martial, however, quashed the subpoena and my client was never able to obtain this highly relevant information.  I appealed the case to the Army Court of Criminal Appeals (ACCA) assigning eight different errors to the case.  One of these was that the military judge in the court-martial erred in quashing the subpoena to Pfizer, Inc.  ACCA found that the military judge abused his discretion in quashing the subpoena.  ACCA also found error in the fact that the military judge did not provide an instruction at the court-martial that addressed my client’s involuntary intoxication under the prescribed drug.  Unfortunately, ACCA found no harm in these errors.  I have, of course, appealed this case to CAAF and CAAF has recently agreed to hear this case on appeal.  I have a great deal of experience in court-martials, court-martial appeals and other military defense cases.  If you need help in this area, call me, I have the experience you need.  To speak to an experienced court-martial and military defense attorney, call Bill Cassara at 706-860-5769 for a free consultation.

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