VANCOUVER, B.C. (CN) - A man says he was disfigured from an infection he got from an injectable gel used to treat "facial wasting" in HIV patients. The class action seeks punitive damage from the makers of Bio-alcamid, which is used to treat lipoatrophy, loss of fat in the face caused by anti-retroviral drug treatments.
Named plaintiff Victor Chapdelaine sued Pur Medical Corp., SkinRx Distribution, Basis Medical Technologies, and Polymekon S.R.L. (of Italy). He also sued John McCahill, "director and controlling mind" of Basis Medical Technologies and Pur Medical; Allan Ward and Chantal Ward, "director and controlling mind[s]" of Pur Medical and SkinRx; and the Universities Dpt. and International Centers of Research On Innovative Materials, of Italy, which is "engaged in research, development and marketing of various products, including Bio-alcamid."
Chapdelaine says the defendants marketed the product as safe and nontoxic after it received approval from Health Canada in 2006.
But Chapdelaine says the treatment was not "subject to any studies that would show long term safety and complications."
He says that Bio-alcamid can cause infections and inflammation months or years after being injected, and that implanted material can migrate from the injection point and cause granulomas, or unsightly bumps, to form around the material.
"The defendants knew or ought to have known that there were risks associated with the use of Bio-alcamid, that there were significant adverse reactions to this product, that they performed no long term safety research, and that the adverse reactions occurred in such a frequency and were of a serious nature so that utility of this cosmetic product was far outweighed by the risks," the complaint states.
Chapdelaine adds: "Bio-alcamid does not treat any health or life-threatening condition and is purely a cosmetic product."
Chapdelaine says that within 3 years of receiving the injection, he suffered "significant migration of the implanted material into his chin and neck, and severe infection and inflammation caused by the Bio-alcamid, accompanied by significant pain." He underwent "a procedure" to remove the stuff, and 8 months later underwent "a full face lift ... to allow the removal of the remaining Bio-alcamid." He says the operation was not successful and his prognosis is uncertain.
Chapdelaine seeks class certification, punitive damages for pain and suffering, medical monitoring and expenses, and costs. He is represented by Bruce W. Lemer with Grant Kovacs Norell.