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Asbestos cancer sufferer settles claim against a leading pharmaceutical company

Former chemist secures six-figure sum of compensation after contracting mesothelioma

Asbestos was found in many laboratories

30 October 2013

A 64 year old former chemist has been awarded £300,000 after developing, mesothelioma following negligent exposure to asbestos after working for one of the UK’s leading pharmaceutical companies.

Mr R developed mesothelioma, an asbestos related cancer of the lining of the lungs after working with  amounts of asbestos in his role as a chemist.

Asbestos was commonly used in laboratories across the UK before the deadly material was banned.

Asbestos was  used in various  places such as  devices used to heat up flasks which had fibrous asbestos insulation and asbestos rope was wrapped around distillation columns to prevent heat loss. Asbestos gloves were used to handle hot laboratory equipment.

Whilst these were all relatively small amounts of asbestos, they were more than enough to increase Mr R’s risk of developing mesothelioma.

Mr R came across the majority of this asbestos in the 70s and up until a few years ago, he was healthy and well, leading an active life. He played squash for 30 years and was an enthusiastic badminton, tennis and croquet player. However, he developed breathing problems and following tests, was informed he had mesothelioma.

Mr R therefore instructed Leigh Day to initiate a claim against the pharmaceutical company who employed him to work in the labs. A settlement of £300,000 was agreed out of court within 6 months of Mr R first contacting the firm.

Vijay Ganapathy from the industrial diseases team at Leigh Day, who represented Mr R said:

“This case highlights the widespread use of asbestos. Even the gauzes placed over Bunsen burners contained asbestos and it is accepted that just a tiny quantity of asbestos is sufficient to place you at risk.

“Many sufferers are unaware that they were exposed to asbestos and so, when they are diagnosed with an asbestos related disease, it comes as an immense shock.

“Whilst this will never make up for his diagnosis, Mr R was given some peace of mind that his family will be provided for and he kindly offered to make a donation to a charity of our choice. We chose Mesothelioma UK to be the recipient.”

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