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"I'm not asking for charity
- just justice!"
March 21, 1995
Gwen Howard claims that tranquillisers have completely ruined her life.
"I was prescribed them for 17 years," says Gwen, a pensioner from Nottingham, who has started a support group for fellow sufferers. "It changed my personality, ruined my life and destroyed my marriage. I was so ill I had to stop working 10 years ago, when I was only 54."
Gwen felt so angry that the drug manufacturers had not issued any warnings about the dangers of prescribing the drugs for long periods so she decided to sue.
In fact, Gwen was one of over 1,200 people who claim they became addicted to one particular drug. But last year, they had to drop compensation claims against its manufacturer after the Legal Aid Board withdrew funding.
Although £30 million in legal aid has already been spent on lawyers and doctors handling the group action, the case will now never get a hearing in the courts.
"The board considered that the costs of the case were excessive compared to the amount likely to be recovered in damages if it succeeded," says Gwen bitterly.
"I don't want charity. I just want the chance to get justice and compensation for all I have suffered."
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