Oxford graduate died after being injected with experimental drug by sister
(Telegraph/UK) – A police report on the case has gone to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), relating to the death of Yolanda Cox, who suffered an allergic reaction to the unlicensed drug.
Scotland Yard has investigated the death of a 22-year-old Oxford University graduate who collapsed after being injected with an experimental anti-ageing drug by her sister.By Andrew Alderson, Chief Reporter
Published: 10:15AM BST 13 Jun 2009The CPS said on Saturday that it has decided not to take any further action.
An inquest into the death of Mrs Cox, who took the drug voluntarily, was held last week and a coroner recorded a verdict of misadventure.
The drug was administered by her elder sister, Dr Yvonne Pambakian.
Both sisters worked for a pharmaceutical company, Amro Biotech, set up by their mother, Dr Arpi Matossian-Rogers.
Amro Biotech had spent more than £3 million developing the drug, known as “B71”, to treat diabetes, cancer and was even hoped to reverse ageing.
At the time of Mrs Cox’s death, it was still being tested in trials in the Netherlands.
Dr Pambakian rejected the suggestion that they were taking part in a drugs trial but said they had decided to take the drug after seeing a response in a small trial on type-2 diabetes sufferers in the Netherlands.
Mrs Cox, who had been married less than a year, died two years ago, but the extraordinary background to the case has only become public because of the inquest at St Pancras coroner’s court.
Mrs Cox collapsed after receiving the drug in the living room of the family’s home in Hampstead, north London.
Patrick Cox, 24, who has a master’s degree in biochemistry from Oxford University, told the inquest that his wife had initially complained of an itchy arm, The Times reported on Saturday.
“Two minutes later she was inside sitting on the sofa and she was struggling for breath. We called the ambulance.
“She was treated with oxygen and taken to hospital. I think her heart stopped beating for a long time.”
Hospital tests revealed that Mrs Cox’s brain was irreversibly damaged and four days later her life support machine was turned off at the Royal Free Hospital in London, where she was being treated.
Dr Andrew Reid, the coroner, recorded a verdict of misadventure after accepting that the death was an unintentional result of the drug being administered.
He ruled out unlawful killing because the standard of proof required – that it was beyond reasonable doubt – could not be met.
Dr Pambakian, 38, told the inquest that she had also injected herself, her mother and a terminally-ill woman with the drug – without any adverse effects.
The Medicines and Health care products Regulatory Authority confiscated supplies of the drug following Mrs Cox’s death, but the body is expected to return supplies to the company so it can continue its research.
Dr Pambakian was arrested after the death of her sister, but was never charged.
Legal experts at the CPS had considered charges of manslaughter and gross negligence but concluded there was insufficient evidence for any prosecution.
A CPS spokesman said: “If the police provide us with any new evidence which would affect our original decision, we will consider the case again.”
The General Medical Council (GMC) confirmed it was investigating Dr Pambakian’s conduct, but that she is currently allowed to practice with conditions.
The restrictions imposed on Dr Pambakian include that she is banned her from prescribing drugs.