A man from Rotterdam who became a gambling addict after taking drugs to control Parkinson’s disease may be entitled to compensation, a Dutch court has ruled.
The addiction to gambling led to the 69-year-old man from Rotterdam losing his wife and job and was caused by the medication, judges in Utrecht said.
The man, who took part in trials of the drug Permax at the end of the 1990s, blames the medicine for his behaviour and is attempting to claim €452,000 in damages from its maker Eli Lilly.
The court said there are no indications the man had a tendency towards gambling or any other compulsive disorder prior to taking Permax. In order to reduce the desire to gamble, he reduced his intake of the drug ‘demonstrating a causal effect’, the court said in its ruling.
Gambling was included on the list of possible side effects of the drug in the Netherlands in 2006, following the intervention of the Dutch medicine regulation body.
This was a year after the manufacturer first told doctors pathological gambling and libido increase had been reported by a few users and several years before official warnings were issued in other countries.
If it can be proven that Eli Lilly knew of this side effect earlier, the man will be entitled to compensation, the court said. Gambling addiction has ruined the man’s life and therefore ‘not mentioning these serious side effects was an injustice to him,’ the ruling said.
Eli Lilly is appealing against the decision. It says there is no proof of a causal link between Permax and gambling addiction. In addition, the company says, there was no scientific evidence that gambling could be a side effect prior to 2005.
There have been class action suits against Eli Lilly because Permax’s side effects in the US, Canada and Australia. Permax has since been withdrawn from sale, apparently for other problems.
The case was heard in December but has only now become public.
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