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Settlement Reached For Some Plaintiffs In Baycol National Class Action

Mar 18, 2004 | CP

Some Canadians who claim they were made sick by using the cholesterol-lowering drug Baycol have reached a tentative settlement in their class-action lawsuit against the pharmaceutical giant Bayer.

Toronto lawyers said Thursday they have reached a proposed settlement on behalf of plaintiffs across the country who contracted the muscle disease rhabdomyolysis after taking the drug.

A parallel settlement has been reached in proceedings brought on behalf of residents of Quebec.

The settlement does not include complainants in British Columbia, who have launched a separate suit.

Baycol was voluntarily withdrawn from the Canadian market in August 2001, following continuing reports of side effects associated with the drug.

The drug has been linked to two deaths in Canada and 100 others around the world.

"It applies to individuals who ingested Baycol and subsequently, as a result of that developed rhabdomyolysis or kidney disease and in certain cases, death," said a Toronto lawyer.

One of the victims was Pearl Inwood of Belleville, Ont., who died last year. Her family claims Bayer failed to fully test the drug for side effects.

Inwood died in July 2001 of rhabdomyolysis, a condition in which muscle cells are destroyed and released into the bloodstream.

Her daughter Kim Coleman is one of the two representative plaintiffs in the class action.

Lawsuits claim the drug can cause fever, nausea, vomiting and kidney failure, among other symptoms.

A hearing will be held April 21 to determine whether the settlement should be approved.

Notices of the settlement are to be published throughout the country in the coming days.

Plaintiffs who contracted rhabdomyolysis after taking Baycol stand to collect payments ranging from $10,000 for those who didn't have to go to hospital to $100,000 for patients who ended up on dialysis.

The maximum death benefit proposed is $175,000 for someone under the age of 30.

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