Man settles claim over drug making him 'sex maniac'

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The Independent Online

A massive damages claim by a businessman who said that prescribed drugs turned him into a sex maniac was settled at the High Court on Wednesday.

Richard Davis said he would receive "a lot of money" from the confidential settlement and said he was satisfied with the outcome of his action.

Mr Davis, 53, of Mill Hill, north London, had brought an £8.5m damages claim over treatment he received between 1989 and 1995 for a non-malignant pituitary gland tumour.

He told the High Court in London that he was a mild-mannered virgin before taking Bromocriptine, then an unlicensed experimental drug.

Mr Davis alleged that the course of treatment led to him behaving like a "cross between a deranged sex maniac and a highly over-excited teenager". He claimed that his personality change from a mild-mannered, middle-aged man to an over- confident and aggressive predator resulted in bankruptcy and criminal convictions for dishonesty and assault.

Novartis Pharmaceuticals (UK) Ltd, Camden and Islington Health Authority – sued as managers of Middlesex Hospital, where Mr Davis was treated – and Professor Howard Saul Jacobs, a consultant who is now retired, denied liability.

However, the case was settled eight days into the action, which was expected to last about eight weeks.

While in the witness box, Mr Davis said he enjoyed a modest lifestyle from the profits of his magazine publishing business. His idea of socialising was the odd glass of wine and a game of bridge and he would only occasionally spend large sums of money on clothing, restaurants or gifts. But within months of starting Bromocriptine, he "spiralled out of control" until he was getting through thousands of pounds every day.

He started paying to have sex with high-class call girls almost every day and once spent £1,300 on a diamond ring for a nightclub hostess he had known "for five minutes". He bought pornographic videos and started to pursue women even when they were clearly not interested in his attentions.

Mr Davis told the court: "I was waking up at 5am in some toilet of a hotel blind drunk after having spent probably £1,000 just on hostesses at a nightclub. This was every single night. I was just so off my head."

He added: "I would be lunching every day, buying a couple of suits on the way back to the office, buying an expensive item for my secretary." While he was on the drug he came up with the "wildly ambitious" idea to set up a British version of Playboy and spent £10,000 on a suite for the photographs.

Mr Davis joined a country club and became involved in a brawl with Paul Merson, the England and Aston Villa footballer, after making unwelcome advances towards two models. His lifestyle left him with huge debts and 10 years ago his company went into compulsory liquidation owing £200,000. His Bentley was also repossessed.

His tumour was eventually successfully treated by 35 sessions of radiotherapy.

Mr Davis said he now suffered from depression and was in effect unemployable because of his financial difficulties and the damage to his reputation.

After the case, Mr Davis said the satisfaction he had experienced at taking on a multibillion-pound drugs company had come at a price. The case ran up legal bills of £2.5m.

He said: "The only concern I have is for other people. Would I recommend to someone else doing what I have done? I would say, 'Don't bother'." But he added: "I'm as satisfied as I could be, given who I have had to fight in this case for the best part of eight years."