Tidwell v. Upjohn, Co

In Tidwell v. Upjohn, Co., 626 So.2d 1297, 1299 (Ala. 1993), the decedent suffered from a sleeping disorder to which a physician prescribed him .25 milligram dosages of Halcion, and recommended him to a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist increased the dosage to .5 milligrams, and diagnosed him with severe depression. Id. The next day, the decedent expressed that he was "losing his mind," and subsequently committed suicide. Id. The decedent's estate filed an action against the defendant--drug manufacturer, alleging that it failed to warn of the drug's effects. To establish its prima facie case, the estate submitted deposition testimony of a pharmacist. Id. The manufacturer moved for summary judgment, averring that the expert was not qualified because he was not a medical doctor. Id. The trial court granted the motion for summary judgment. Id. On appeal, the Supreme Court of Alabama concluded that the trial court abused its discretion in excluding the expert testimony because the pharmacist's education, expertise, and training in pharmacology rendered him qualified to opine regarding whether the drug contributed to the suicide. Id. at 1300. The expert was "a pharmacist and pharmacologist with a Pharm.D. degree from the University of Michigan. He was the editor-in-chief of a professional pharmacy journal, had served as the assistant direct of pharmacy at a Chicago hospital for 12 years, and had been an assistant professor of pharmacology at a Chicago medical school." Tidwell, 626 So.2d at 1300.