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Proposed class action lawsuit filed against Canadian maker of popular weight loss drug Ozempic


A proposed class action lawsuit has been filed in B.C. Supreme Court alleging the Canadian manufacturer of Ozempic didn’t warn prospective patients about possible complications.

The drug has exploded in popularity since doctors began prescribing it for weight loss.

But 54-year-old Tracy Nygaard was taking Ozempic for its intended purpose, the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. After her first dose, she knew something was wrong.

“My stomach hurt so much, I had pain and bloating and vomiting,” said Nygaard from her home in Quesnel.

Ozempic was very effective at controlling her blood sugar, so Nygaard’s doctor suggested she keep up with the once-weekly injections. But the side effects persisted.

“One of the reactions that I had, I did go to the ER. I said I can’t handle this anymore,” said Nygaard, who did eventually stop taking Ozempic.

“I feel scared that I have permanent damage now,” Nygaard said. “I wish I had been warned that there were severe side effects before I started taking it, so I could have made an informed decision.”

She’s joined the proposed class action for Canadians who claim they have experienced severe complications while taking Ozempic for diabetes or weight loss, and believe they weren’t told of that risk.

It’s been filed by Siskinds, an Ontario law firm that specializes in medical class actions, and focuses on the drug makers alleged failure to warn prospective patients about possible severe side effects.

“We have already heard from dozens of Canadians who have reached out to us and reported that they believe they fall within the class definition, that they took Ozempic or one of these other drugs and then subsequently experienced some of these severe gastrointestinal or gall bladder-related issues,” said Siskinds associate lawyer James Boyd.

He added some of the people who’ve contacted his firm experienced something known as stomach paralysis.

“It’s a condition where food sits in the digestive system and it’s delayed from actually voiding itself, and causes severe stomach pain to the point where some people feel like their stomach is in state of paralysis,” said Boyd.

Nygaard believes that’s what happened to her when she took Ozempic. “For some people like me, you have adverse reaction to that delayed digestion,” she said.

Dr. Yashar Tashakkor, a North Vancouver physician who specializes in obesity, says Ozempic is designed to slow down the digestive tract, adding that’s why it helps people lose weight.

“Typically I quote my patients, around 10 per cent of them, may experience some nausea as well as vomiting,” he said.

Dr. Tashakkor hasn’t seen stomach paralysis in any of his patients, who he says have largely benefitted from taking Ozempic. But he says he will mention that possibility now.

“This is going to be something I’m going to discuss with my patients, and say there are some evidence that are coming out that may suggest it. I haven’t come across a case, it is rare, but my job is to inform the patients of all the risks and benefits that I am aware of,” said Tashakkor.

In a statement, Novo Nordisk, the Canadian manufacturer of Ozempic and other similar drugs named in the proposed class action, said: “Novo Nordisk stands behind the safety and efficacy of all of our GLP-1 medicines when used by appropriate patients consistent with the product labelling and approved indications.”

None of the claims in the proposed class action have been tested in court. Ultimately, a judge will decide whether it will be certified, and patients like Nygaard can seek relief. Top Stories

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