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Inquest into the death of 70 year old following experimental Cannabis drug treatment

Sativex drug trial



The inquest begins today at the Medico-Legal centre in Sheffield into the death of a diabetic 70 year old woman who died following an experimental cannabis based drug Sativex which was being trialled at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield.


Experimental cannabis drug causes psychosis

Rene Anderson had for many years suffered from diabetic neuropathy, a generalised nerve pain in her hands and feet. Those treating her thought she might benefit from the experimental cannabis based drug Sativex, unfortunately shortly after starting taking the drug, she developed psychosis and was admitted to hospital.

The psychosis did not come under control and, after approximately ten weeks in hospital, she began to suffer physical problems including pneumonia and kidney failure and she died on 3rd March 2004.

The inquest will look at whether her psychosis was caused by her taking the cannabis-based drug and whether that psychosis then led to her physical decline and death.


Experimental drug complications legal advice

The solicitor representing Mrs Anderson's family, Richard Starkie of national law firm Irwin Mitchell, said "This Inquest will explore how and why Mrs Anderson died. It will examine the drug trial; Mrs Anderson's subsequent psychiatric illness; and her physical deterioration that ultimately led to her death. If it is found that Sativex did in fact play a part in her illness or death, it would clearly raise some very important questions as to the safety of the drug."

Mrs Jackie Sadler, Mrs Anderson's daughter, said "Our mother was a wonderful woman who still had a great deal of life in her. We are still in the dark as to how she became so ill and why she died and none of the medical experts involved have yet been able to answer our questions. We very much hope the Inquest will provide answers to some of these."

We ask that the family's privacy be respected during the Inquest, which will of course be a difficult time for them all. Consideration will be given to interviews at the end of the Inquest.