A married father-of-two has won a six-figure payout against British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline after his medication to treat his Parkinson's disease turned him into a "gay sex and gambling addict".
French appeals court upheld a ruling Wednesday, ordering the drug manufacturer to pay 197,000 Euros ($255,785) to Didier Jambart after he suffered side effects taking the drug Requip in 2003.
The court heard that the 52-year-old had been a loving father and husband as well as a respected and upstanding member of the community in Nantes, western France, but within two years of taking the drug Requip he became a compulsive gay sex addict who started cross dressing and exposing himself on the internet for sex.
Jambart even sold his children's toys to fund his online gambling addiction, claims that his dangerous sexual liaisons led him to being raped, he claimed in court in the French city of Rennes.
A court in the western city of Nantes had previously awarded Jambart 117,000 Euros ($151,000) 18 months ago.
However, GlaxoSmithKline had appealed the previous ruling and a higher court in Rennes on Wednesday upheld the earlier decision. The appeals court increased the compensation to Jambart by another 80,000 Euros ($103,896) after it found "serious, precise and corroborated" evidence to blame the father's transformation on Requip.
Jambart, who sat next to his wife Christine in court, burst into tears as judges upheld his claim that his life had become "hell" after he started taking Glaxo's Requip.
"It's a great day," he told reporters, according to AFP. "It's been a seven-year battle with our limited means for recognition of the fact that GSK lied to us and shattered our lives."
"I am happy that justice has been done. I am happy for my wife and my children. I am at last going to be able to sleep at night and profit from life," he said, adding that the money he was awarded was not like winning the lottery and that it will never replace the "years of pain" he suffered under the medication.
The former bank manager and local councilor in Nantes had started taking Requip for Parkinson's disease in 2003. He said that he had tried to commit suicide eight times after the drug turned him into a sex and gambling addict.
"After first taking the drugs I was bursting with energy. I would get up at four in the morning and run ten-and-a-half kilometers," he told the court, according to The Sun.
"Then my neurologist increased the dose and I completely lost the plot," he said.
"I discovered internet gambling, and at first it was just a bit of fun but I soon became addicted."
He said he emptied his bank account, sold his children's toys and stole money from his co-workers, friends and neighbors.
He said when his doctor increased his medication dosage again in November 2005, he became even more addicted, and at times even felt the urge to kill someone.
He said that the drug had also turned him into a "hypersexual, gay, cross-dresser," and he "started seeking out sex with men" and exhibiting himself on the Internet and arranging dangerous encounters, one of which resulted in him being raped.
He said that his family and those around him had not understood what was going on at first.
He said that his behavior had returned to normal when he stopped taking the drug in 2005 after he stumbled upon a website that made the link between Requip and addictions.
"My life was hell. It still is because you cannot forget a catastrophe like that," he said.
The court heard that the warnings about Requip's side-effects had only been made public in 2006. Jambart said that Glaxo should have informed patents earlier.
"There was no warning of these side effects that came with the drug, although this finally appeared on the packet in 2006, showing the makers were aware of the risks much earlier," he said.
ReQuip, also sold under the name Ropinirole, adjusts dopamine levels in the brain to treat Parkinson's patients, a neurological disorder of the nervous system that affects movement, muscle control and balance.
Jamabart agreed that Requip was a "good medicine" and offered treatment to people with Parkinson's disease, but he said that the side effects of the drug "must be transparent".
GlaxoSmithKline had told the court that it had "serious doubts" that Jambart had developed his addictions after taking Requip.
Published by Medicaldaily.com