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Independents' Day

GPs warned of the need for vigilance

The lawyer preparing a class action over Seroxat has warned GPs to increase their vigilance in prescribing the drug to adults.

Mike Harvey, a partner at Hugh Jones, the legal firm preparing action against GlaxoSmithKline over the alleged addictive nature of Seroxat, claimed GPs would jeopardise their medicolegal insurance if they continued to prescribe Seroxat to teenagers not responding well to treatment.

Mr Harvey also advised GPs to be cautious about prescribing Seroxat to adults, saying: 'By the fact it was recognised there is a question over the propensity towards suicide in people under 18, it must lead to a question-mark in anyone over 18.'

Although the manufacturer was in the frontline of any action over Seroxat, GPs could be vulnerable in the future, he added.

'Our general view is this is down to the drug company but it may be in time we will have to look at prescriber issues. Inevitably you look to make sure the drug was prescribed appropriately,' he said.

Dr Hugh Stewart, medico-legal adviser at the Medical Defence Union, said GPs following the Government guidelines should be protected from any legal action.

But he warned of the need for caution in any prescribing of Seroxat for under-18s, even those who wished to continue therapy.

'If it's somebody Gillick competent, we would have to respect their views, but where there is any risk GPs should be coming to us for advice,' he said.

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