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Back To Vidyya National Diet Drug Class Action Against French Pharmaceutical Giant Cleared To Proceed

Suit Covers 155,000 Canadians Who Took The Diet Pills Ponderal And Redux

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.

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Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
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