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Woman allegedly blinded by cold medicine files suit against gov't

A Busan woman who lost her eyesight after taking cold medicine has filed a compensation lawsuit against the government, the drug maker and other concerned parties, claiming her misfortune was caused by side effects of the drug, her law firm said Monday.

According to the law firm CS, the 36-year-old, identified only by her family name of Kim, took the rare legal action against the government, the drug maker, hospital and pharmacy, demanding 500 million won ($439,500) in compensation for her disability that was attributed to her taking cold medication bought at a neighborhood pharmacy in Busan in 2010.

Kim also insisted she suffered from so-called Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a life-threatening skin condition that usually results from a drug reaction, as a result of taking the cold medicine.

The woman said her mishap came after the pharmacy and a Busan university hospital failed to prescribe the correct medication for her symptoms, resulting in itchiness and a high fever. Kim has unsuccessfully undergone 13 corneal transplants and receive various treatments for her skin ailment and is still in hospital.

"The government has responsibility for categorizing the medicine which can cause serious side effects as an over-the-counter drug, instead of a prescription-only medicine," said Lee In-jae, a lawyer at CS.

The lawsuit also holds the drug manufacturer and the hospital responsible for not undertaking proper safety management, such as the notification of possible side effects and warning labels.

(Yonhap News)



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