Kim Witczak and Eric Swan take the fight for good information about prescription drugs very seriously.
In 2003, Kim’s husband and Eric’s brother-in-law, Woody, filled a new prescription from his family doctor for the antidepressant, Zoloft to reduce insomnia and “help manage the stress of a new job.” Woody had just taken a position as Vice President of Sales with a start up company about 2 months prior.
After 5 weeks of being on the drug–Woody took his own life. He had no history of mental illness, depression or any other problem. Woody was not warned about the need to be closely monitored when first going on the drug or when the dose was increased–the 3-week sample pack from Pfizer doubled the dosage from 25 – 50 mg. Last year, Kim Witczak contacted Consumers Union, after learning about our efforts to improve drug safety, and worked with us to schedule meetings with her representatives. Since then, Kim and Eric have met with Governor Pawlenty and Representative Jim Ramstad of Minnesota, among others. Rep. Ramstad became a joint co-sponsor of drug safety legislation in the House. Kim and Eric have also been helping to lead a campaign in MN to require drug companies to release the results of all clinical trials they conduct to doctors and the public, not just the ones that make their drugs look good. This legislation received bi-partisan support and widespread media attention. Also–over 3,000 Minnesotans wrote letters, made phone calls and signed Kim’s petition in support of this bill.
This legislation may not have passed this year, but you can bet Kim and Eric will be back again next year to make sure this important patient safety bill becomes law.