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Parkinson Gambler Sues Drug Giant Says Requip Gave Compulsive Behaviour

 Gambler sues drugs giant for $15m loss

A retired doctor who blew $15 million (£8.5 million) in Las Vegas is accusing a drug company of turning him into a compulsive gambler and is suing to get his money back.

Max Wells, 55, claims that GlaxoSmithKline failed to warn him that taking Requip, a medicine prescribed for Parkinson's disease, could cause compulsive behaviour.

The former pathologist, from Austin, Texas, is also suing seven casinos in the Nevada city, claiming that they took advantage of his condition and encouraged him to bet his life savings and should have known that he had the degenerative disorder.

According to the lawsuit, Dr Wells, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2000, was an occasional gambler who became compulsive when he took a drug called Mirapex in 2004. He told his doctor and was switched to Requip, but his "gambling compulsion became irresistible".

He sought help after his wife discovered the losses.

The lawsuit cites a 2005 study of 11 Parkinson's patients who developed compulsive gambling habits while taking Requip or Mirapex and says the casinos, which include the Mandalay Bay, Bellagio, Wynn Las Vegas and Hard Rock Hotel, should have been aware of the study.

Instead, the suit says, they showered him with luxury gifts such as cruises and hotel rooms to win his business. When he came off Requip, his gambling compulsion disappeared, the suit claims.

GlaxoSmithKline, which has not yet received the suit, said it would investigate the allegations but believed its drug was "appropriately labelled".

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