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Mogadon man sues for loss of 3.5m business

Daily Telegraph
November 9, 2001
by Tara Womersley

A BUSINESSMAN who was taking a prescribed tranquilliser is suing the maker of the drug for 3.5 million, claiming that it led to the collapse of his commercial ventures.

Iain Caldwell claims that his business, which included interests in the textile industry, land investments and a beef and lamb firm, failed because of neglect and mismanagement caused by the side-effects of the tranquilliser Mogadon.

Mr Caldwell, 58, said that he was prescribed the drug by his doctor, who assured him that it was properly tested and entirely safe, after he noticed changes in his sleep pattern from working long hours.

He claims that the drug impaired his thought processes and induced mood disorder with the additional effect of dependence and severe insomnia, making him a virtual recluse in his bedroom.

Mr Caldwell, of Blairgowrie, Perthshire, who is seeking damages from the drugs firm Roche in an action at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, said that between 1975 and 1984 when he was prescribed the drug his "track record" in business was destroyed and he lost his reputation and nearly all his assets and income.

The drugs company denies liability and is seeking to have the action dismissed at a procedural hearing. It maintains in its defence that Mogadon does not lead to physical or psychological dependence among users.

Mr Caldwell moved to Shetland in 1966 where he started to build up businesses. In 1973 he agreed with leading Harris Tweed companies to set up Gaelspun, which in turn acquired his textile interests.

He claims that by 1976 he was physically and psychologically dependent on the drug, of which he was prescribed more than 3,000 tablets by 1984.

Mr Caldwell said that he had since been diagnosed by psychiatrists as suffering from "substance-induced mood disorder" from 1975 to 1984, with depressive features and anxiety.

He claimed he changed from being dynamic, ambitious and cheerful to becoming increasingly withdrawn and that it was only when he read a book on tranquilliser addiction that he realised Mogadon may have been responsible.

Roche also maintains that Mr Caldwell's claim lacks specification.

Update: "Only one person has managed to obtain compensation from the Pharmaceutical Companies for Tranquilliser addiction. Iain Caldwell in Scotland received a no liability settlement of over 100,000 for alleged addiction to Roche Product's Mogadon (nitrazepam) after a 13 year legal battle." APPG Report, Michael Behan, January 22, 2009.

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