Cholesterol Drug Lawsuit Expands to Include Canadians - CBC News - January 15, 2002

Cholesterol Drug Lawsuit Expands to Include Canadians
By: CBC News Online Staff
CBC News
January 15, 2002

BERLIN - A German lawyer says he's expanding his class action lawsuit against Bayer to include people from other countries, including Canada. The suit concerns the anti-cholesterol drug Lipobay, also known as Baycol and Cerivastatin.

Lawyer Kenneth Moll has already filed a lawsuit on behalf of American users. He hopes to add plaintiffs from Canada, Germany, Egypt, Australia, France and Jamaica. The lawsuit is expected to be filed in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.

Bayer, based in Germany, recalled the drug from markets around the world last August because of reports of rhabdomyolysis associated with the product.

Rhabdomyolysis is a condition that causes muscles to break down, releasing muscle cells into the bloodstream.

Symptoms include muscle pain, weakness, tenderness, fever, dark urine, nausea, and vomiting. In severe cases, rhabdomyolysis can result in kidney failure.

More than one million prescriptions for the drug have been written in Canada since it was introduced to the market in 1998.

More than 50 deaths worldwide, including one in Canada, have been linked to Baycol.

The family of the Canadian woman who died after taking Baycol filed a $100 million class action lawsuit last September.

Pearl Inwood, 59, of Belleville, Ontario, died on July 25, 2001 after taking the drug for six months.

Moll says joining the American lawsuit will ensure all people have access to higher damage settlements from U.S. courts.

Moll says no damages are specified in the lawsuit but indicated that could range from a few hundred dollars to as much as $15 million for families of those who died.

The suit also seeks punitive damages against Bayer, claiming the company knew about the drug's problems long before the public was informed.

Lawyers for Bayer say they will seek to have the suit thrown out because U.S. courts have no jurisdiction over foreign cases.

'Lipobay was sold at different dosage levels, subject to different regulatory requirements, and by different entities in different countries,' said the company in a news release.