5th Circuit Nixes Claim that Drug Caused Gambling Problem

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Max Wells was a wealthy physician who enjoyed trips to Las Vegas for nearly 30 years before he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. As his neurological disease progressed, Wells retired and sold his pathology clinic but continued his gambling trips.

Impulse Control

"Pathological" gambling is on a growing list of so-called "impulse control disorders" that plaintiffs are claiming as prescription drug side-effects in product liability suits. Plaintiffs variously contend that drugs have caused them to compulsively eat, drink and shop, take illicit drugs, or turned them into sex addicts. Even a single plaintiff's damages claim can run into the millions. Class claims ratchet up the stakes. Mirapex, for example, is the subject of a multidistrict litigation action in Minnesota and a Canadian class action which allege the drug can cause compulsive behaviors, including pathological gambling.

Crucially each of the experts conceded there was no scientifically reliable evidence of a cause-and-effect relationship between Requip and pathological gambling.

"These admissions drain the expert opinions of probative force," Judge Patrick Higginbotham wrote. He said scientific literature the experts claimed showed "an association" between Requip and problem gambling didn't represent "scientific knowledge."

Cristin Schmitz

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