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DRUGS

Claims of drug’s weird side effects upheld

A French appeals court has upheld a ruling ordering pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline to pay 197,000 euros to a man who claimed that its drug to treat Parkinson's turned him into a gay sex and gambling addict.

Claims of drug's weird side effects upheld
GlaxoSmithKline headquarters in Brentford, England (Photo: Maxwell Hamilton)

The court in the northern city of Rennes said father-of-two Didier Jambart had suffered side effects after being administered the drug Requip in 2003 for the illness, which causes tremors, slows movement and disrupts speech.

A court in the western city of Nantes had previously ordered the British drug company  to pay 117,000 euros ($151,000) in compensation in March.

Jambart, who was accompanied by his wife, burst into tears after the ruling.

"It's a great day," he said. "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."

Jambart, 52, said the drug made him addicted to internet gambling and caused him to lose the family's savings and steal to feed the habit that cost him 82,000 euros.

He said he attempted suicide eight times and became a compulsive gay sex addict, exposing himself on the internet and cross-dressing.

His risky sexual encounters led to him being raped.

All that stopped when he ceased taking Requip in 2005.
  
Requip has been known for years to have undesired side effects but a warning only appeared on its package insert in 2006, his lawyers said.

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DRUGS

French minister calls for Eurovision winner to be disqualified if singer fails drug test

France's Europe minister on Monday called for "total transparency" over speculation that one of Italy's victorious Eurovision contestants used cocaine during the song contest, saying it should be grounds for disqualification if confirmed.

French minister calls for Eurovision winner to be disqualified if singer fails drug test
France's entry, Barbara Pravi, said she didn't care whether Måneskin had used drugs or not. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP

Damiano David, the outlandish vocalist for Italian rockers Måneskin, has agreed to take a drug test after video footage appeared to show him snorting something from a table backstage during Saturday’s contest.

“I think there needs to be no doubt here, and total transparency,” Europe Minister Clement Beaune, who attended the show in Rotterdam, told RMC radio. “If there is a problem, there are penalties… Provisions are made for sanctioning measures, including potential disqualification in case of problems.” 

French hopes had been riding high on singer Barbara Pravi, who was a bookmakers’ favourite to end France’s 44-year Eurovision drought with her
moody ballad “Voila.”

But she was edged out at the last minute by a surge in public votes for Måneskin, with a final tally of 524 to Pravi’s 499.

“I don’t want to be a sore loser,” Beaune said, but “in terms of image, we can’t let people think that such competitions can result in such behaviour.”

The president of France’s public broadcasting group, however, said Monday that France would not contest its second-place finish, no matter the speculation over David’s backstage antics.

“France has absolutely no intention to lodge an appeal,” France Televisions chief Delphine Ernotte told the Parisien newspaper. “The vote was quite clearly in Italy’s favour — it didn’t steal its
victory and that’s what matters,” she said.

Pravi herself said she was not interested in the speculation.

“What’s true is that they were chosen by both the public and the jury. Afterwards, if they use drugs or they put their underwear on backwards or whatever… it’s not my problem,” she told France 2 television on Sunday.

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