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Can Modern Medicine Be at Fault for Compulsive Gambling?

On November 4, 2019, Jenifer Purchas was prescribed the antipsychotic drug Abilify by her doctor – Stephen Ayotunde Ogunremi. She believes after treatment with the said medication she developed a series of compulsive gambling, shopping, eating, and even sexual behavior disorders. Leading to her getting into a huge credit card debt, an increase in her mortgage, even ruining and losing family and friends relationships.

Abilify is a known antipsychotic medication that is normally prescribed to patients who start to develop symptoms of schizophrenia, episodes of bipolar-1 disorder, and many depressive disorders. Purchas believes the stem of her compulsive conditions began only after she had to start her Abilify treatment, and by January 2020 she found herself in an impressive amount of debt.

Medical Negligence or Not

The British Columbian lady claims that she had no idea that the medication can have such effects on her well-being and states that she was not warned of such effects by the doctor in question. The lawsuit also states that at all times the defendants and in this case Dr. Stephen Ayotunde Ogunremi and the pharmacy should be aware of whether medication is harmless or can lead to compulsive disorders.

According to the lawsuit…
…Ms. Purchas has been a victim of medical negligence and breach of contract, resulting in a series of mental disorders and weight gain due to compulsive eating, which posed as a threat to her health. She insists on compensation for special and aggravated injuries and financial loss due to the fact that she is now in huge debt to banks and friends and family.

A response has not been filed to the lawsuit to this date, which has still not reached the courtroom. Tri-Cities Mental Health Centre, which is the facility where Dr. Ogunremi is currently employed, refused to discuss the matter before the process. The other defendant in the face of Shoppers Drug Mart also refused to comment on the situation.

Back in 2016, there was an issued statement by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which declared that the use of such antipsychotic aripiprazole can in fact lead to the exact compulsive disorders in patients. Then in March 2020 Ontario judge issued a national class-action in Canada, which prescribed patients with the drug from July 9, 2009, to February 23, 2017, which states that the use of Abilify may lead to compulsive gambling, gambling, eating, and increased sexuality.

Responsible BCLC

The British Columbia Lottery corporation has never denied the issue of gambling addiction among players, and in fact, the company has always put great efforts to come up with new solutions in the fight against compulsive gambling. Currently, many underlying problems have been positively discussed in New Horizons in Responsible Gambling pre-conference and in the search for solutions.

Recently the British Columbia has been awarded the biggest of recognitions in the gaming industry. The BCLC efforts in the war of compulsive gambling were noticed by The World Lottery Association, by awarding the Canadian corporation with Level 4 certification. This is by far the greatest recognition in the gaming field, which is given BCLC’s innovative and never-ending suggestions on how to help players in safer gambling.

Source: Fraser, Keith
“B.C. patient sues doctor over drug she claims caused compulsive gambling”, Vancouver Sun, January 20, 2021