A class action lawsuit accusing pharmaceutical companies of mislabeling glucosamine sulfate pills has been given the green light to proceed by a Vancouver judge, who didn’t miss the chance to compare the case to a beloved British comedy sketch.
B.C. Supreme Court Justice Ward Branch cited Monty Python’s Flying Circus in his decision to certify the class action lawsuit against WN Pharmaceuticals Ltd. and Natural Factors Nutritional Products Ltd., writing “sometimes a consumer will make a purchase but not receive what they ordered,” CBC reports.
Uttra Kumari Krishnan filed the class action lawsuit against the two companies, saying that she spent years buying glucosamine sulfate products that contained no glucosamine sulfate.
Glucosamine is found in the covering of shellfish and glucosamine sulfate is produced by combining glucosamine and mineral salt
If approved by Health Canada, those manufacturing the products with the compound can say it “helps to relieve joint pain associated with osteoarthritis and to protect against cartilage deterioration.”
However, glucosamine alone is harder to digest and therefore cannot carry the same labelling. Global sales of the compound are worth billions, CBC reports.
According to Krishnan’s class action lawsuit, a 2012 academic article threw doubt on the contents of many commercial products claiming to contain glucosamine sulfate, and a University of British Columbia professor found “Webber Naturals Glucosamine Sulfate 500 mg Capsules did not contain “glucosamine sulphate or so-called glucosamine sulfate potassium chloride.”
“Much like the poor Mr. Praline, [Krishnan] complains that she was sold a health product that did not contain what it said on the bottle,” Branch wrote in judgment.
“[She] admits that she does not know for certain what is in the bottles, but argues that what is important is that it was not glucosamine sulfate.”
In Monty Python, the character Mr. Praline was sold a “”Norwegian Blue” parrot that in fact was dead and nailed to its perch to appear alive. In the skit, Praline called the parrot an “ex-parrot” that had “expired and gone to meet his maker.”
Branch added that the companies’ argument that they met Health Canada’s scientific guidelines and that expert tests went above and beyond what was required did not stack up: “Health Canada’s testing protocols cannot change a dead parrot into a live one.”
“Health Canada cannot establish a protocol that requires that a parrot only still have its feathers in order to be sold as a live parrot, and thereby prevent anyone from suing after being sold a parrot who ‘joined the bleedin’ choir invisible,” he wrote.
Have you purchased any Webber Naturals Glucosamine Sulfate pills in the past? Let us know what you think about this class action lawsuit in the comments section!
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