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The scandal of the missing drugs

VENICE. For two months he had taken a drug from Bayer, Lipobay, to fight cholesterol and slowly he was almost completely paralysed. A Venetian family doctor, RT, filed a lawsuit with the lawyer Luigino Martellato against the well-known pharmaceutical company and in recent days the Venetian judge of the civil court Marco Campagnolo considered the causal link between taking the drug and the development of the serious pathology to exist, deciding that Bayer will have to pay the doctor a total compensation of 360 thousand euros.

In May and June of 1999, the practitioner had taken Lipobay after self-prescription to lower his blood cholesterol levels. The almost immediate effect had been the appearance of rhabdomyolysis, i.e. the rupture of skeletal muscle cells, a pathology which can also have a fatal outcome and which, thanks to the fact that after those two months RT had suspended the treatment, the consequence for him had been almost total invalidity. He had had to stay stuck in his bed for weeks or, at most, in an armchair because he could only make a few movements and with great attention.

Judge Campagnolo, before the sentence, entrusted technical advice to two coroners, one of whom is a specialist in neurology. The consultancy confirmed that the doctor's pathology was due to the intake of the Bayer drug, so much so that "currently the clinical and instrumental picture of the interested party - reads the document - can be considered completely regressed with recovery of the normal functionality of the neuromuscular apparatus" following the interruption of the Lipobay intake. In 2001, among other things, the drug was withdrawn from the market by the pharmaceutical company and, in any case, the Ministry of Health forbade its sale.

The Venetian magistrate also considered the doctor's age (at the time he was 52 and had also been an athlete in his youth). According to the report, two months of employment would have cost him a partial temporary disability for 24 months and another 12 months of suffering. Furthermore, he had had to suspend the medical profession for three years: in addition to being a family doctor, he had also started practicing as a dentist in private practice. Thus, the judge decided that Bayer Italia will have to compensate RT, paying just over 346,000 euros. In addition, he liquidated another 14,000 euros for legal costs.

Giorgio Cecchetti – January 16, 2013 – The New

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