The American Statesman, a newspaper in Austin, Texas today reported that an attorney, citing a 2005 Mayo Clinic study that documented 11 Parkinson’s patients who became compulsive gamblers while on a drug called Requip, filed suit against manufacturer GlaxcoSmithKline on behalf of a retired doctor in Austin, Texas. His Complaint alleges that after taking Requip in 2004, the plaintiff "developed an irresistible compulsion to gamble," which lead to his losing over $13 million. The Complaint also claims that the casinos knew or should have know of his Parkinson’s and the Mayo Clinic study (conveniently ignoring that the study came out after he lost most of his money).
I worked for GlaxcoSmithKline as an outside lawyer about five years ago defending their antidepressant Paxil. I cannot imagine a scenario where they would ever consider resolving a claim like this. You cannot blame Glaxco in this case. This lawsuit seems frivolous. (I use the word "seems" only because I do not have access to the same information that the attorney filing the suit may have.) A study of 11 patients is not enough for Glaxco to rely upon given the side effect is not life threatening. I find these claims frustrating because there are many meritorious claims pending against Glaxco and the other drug companies. Pharmaceutical lawsuits like this one weaken by association those deserving pharmaceutical cases.