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The Evening Standard
Last updated at 17:22pm on 20.01.08
‘Happy drug’: Seroxat
Murderer Colin Dorey, who battered his wife to death with a hammer, is suing pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline over his use of the anti-depressant Seroxat.
From his cell at Gartree prison in Leicestershire, Dorey, 48, has joined nearly 500 other users of the drug in a lawsuit against the multi-national, each seeking compensation of up to £50,000.
Their case is funded by legal aid at an estimated cost of hundreds of thousands of pounds to the taxpayer.
Dorey, a chef, was jailed for life in August 2002 for murdering his wife Christine, 37, at their home in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, while their three young children slept upstairs.
At his trial Dorey, who will be eligible for parole in 2011, admitted manslaughter and told police he had “just flipped” because he believed his wife was having an affair.
She was hit at least ten times with a club hammer.
When Dorey was found in his car shortly afterwards, he had a packet of Seroxat tablets with him. He had dialled 999 to tell police what he had done.
His claim is part of a £30 million damages case against the makers of the drug, which is supposed to boost confidence and happiness.
Law firm Hugh James, on behalf of the claimants, alleges Seroxat is “defective” under the 1987 Consumer Protection Act.
Solicitor Mark Harvey said: “All the claimants allege they tried to withdraw from Seroxat and have suffered discontinuation syndrome.”
Dorey cannot claim compensation from GSK through alleging Seroxat led to a state of mind that caused him to kill his wife because a criminal act cannot be the basis for such a claim.
Since it was first prescribed in 1990, Seroxat has been linked to at least 50 suicides. GSK, which makes up to £1 billion a year from the drug, has been accused of failing to act on warnings that it could have serious side-effects, including personality changes.
In 2003 it was banned for under-18s amid concerns it contributed to suicide among adolescents with depression.
The same year a man arrested for armed robbery had charges dropped after medical reports concluded his behaviour could have been altered by Seroxat withdrawal symptoms.
A spokesman for GSK said: “We cannot comment on individual cases. Seroxat has benefited millions of people worldwide.
“We believe the product is not defective and there is therefore no merit in this litigation.”