Access to justice for more than 155,000
Canadians who took the diet pills Ponderal and Redux which are alleged to
cause serious illnesses is now a reality following an important ruling
released on 22 November from Madam Justice Susan Gray of the Ontario Divisional Court.
The French pharmaceutical giant, Biofarma S.A. and its Canadian
distributor, Servier Canada Inc., were asking the court to let them appeal an
earlier ruling that allowed Canadians who took the drugs to join a class
action lawsuit. In today's decision, Madam Justice Lang found no grounds for
appeal, so now the class action lawsuit will move forward to a trial.
Because of this ruling, formal notice will now be sent out to newspapers
and magazines across the country to let those affected know about their rights
regarding the lawsuit. The lawsuit is not only on behalf of Canadians who took
the drugs, but also seeks to recover the healthcare costs on behalf of
provincial Ministries of Health which pay to monitor people who took the drugs
to check them on an ongoing basis for symptoms.
Published medical literature has linked Ponderal and Redux with
potentially life-threatening heart and lung diseases, namely primary pulmonary
hypertension (PPH) and valvular heart disease. PPH is a disorder that claims
the lives of 60 per cent of patients just two years after diagnosis.
The class action lawsuit can include anyone who took the drug from across
Canada, excluding Quebec, which has its own procedures. This is the first time
that a lawsuit over these controversial drugs has been permitted to proceed in
Canada. Recently, an American firm agreed to pay as much as $4.5 billion in
injury claims over the diet drugs.