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Firm director claims malaria drug taken before honeymoon 'destroyed his life'


Judge's gavel

Judge's gavel

Judge's gavel

A FORMER director of a Dublin computer systems company claims in a High Court action that an anti-malarial drug, Lariam, which he took before honeymooning in Kenya 19 years ago, destroyed his life.

Andrew Bryce, who was represented in court today by barrister Andrea Mulligan, is suing Roche Products (Ireland) Ltd;  the Tropical Medical Bureau and a medical doctor for damages for allegedly failing to warn him of all of the side effects of the drug.

Barrister Rossa Fanning, counsel for the pharmaceutical company Roche Products, said his client is seeking to have Bryce’s claim dismissed for delay in prosecution.

He told High Court President Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns that Mr Bryce had issued legal proceedings in 1999 and had claimed that his delay in prosecuting his action was allegedly due to poor health since having taken the drug.

Mr Fanning said the pharmaceutical company doubted that Mr Bryce’s health condition was as bad as he alleged.  It had come to the defendant’s notice that Mr Bryce, playing of a handicap of 12, had since won a golf competition at Royal Dublin Golf Club.

The court learned that all of the defendants have listed a motion before the High Court on October 13, asking the court to dismiss for want of prosecution Bryce’s claims, which all of the defendants deny in defence documents.

In extensive media interviews in 1999 (Irish Times) and 2002 (The Guardian), and in his damages claim, Bryce stated that he had taken the drug prior to his honeymoon in Kenya in 1996.

He alleges he and his wife, Cathy, had been advised they needed to take Lariam. He had heard about side effects with anti-malarial drugs but alleged he had been assured that this was mainly due to ‘media hype.’

He claims his problem started, after taking the first tablet, with panic attacks and dizziness. He had felt fairly ok on honeymoon, but his health had deteriorated after returning from his honeymoon.

The motion has been adjourned until September 9 for mention again in preparation of the October 13 hearing.

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