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Arthritis sufferers were given compensation for using Bextra

Do you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, and did you use a drug called Bextra? Bextra is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug -- often referred to as a NSAID -- that developers said would cut back on stiffness, inflammation and overall pain caused by those conditions. In a smaller amount of cases, doctors also gave it out for those with painful menstruation issues.

While the drug may have helped some users, it also came with some unintended side effects. The risk of strokes, heart attacks, and other cardiovascular events went up. Some people ended up with skin conditions that were not just painful, but could even be deadly -- two examples are Stevens-Johnson Syndrome and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis. Others battled dangerous infections.

As a result, the drug was pulled from the shelves. It was alleged that the company producing the drug, Pfizer Canada, found out about the issues before taking the drug down, but they did not do enough to stop production or tell those who were using the medications. As such, they were held liable for the deaths and injuries caused by Bextra.

In 2011, six years after the drug was removed, a settlement was reached for a total of $12 million. This fund was dedicated to paying the legal fees of those who had been negatively impacted and paying out compensation.

When you buy a drug, you expect it to be safe or you expect to be warned up front about all of the potential side effects and complications. That's the duty of care the manufacturer owes to you. When this is breached and you're harmed, you need to know your legal options in Ontario.

Source: Rochon Genova, "Bextra," accessed May 25, 2016

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