Additional Costs for Drugs and Anaesthetic Agents
This class action seeks to compensate all those who paid more than the cost price for the use of a drug or an anesthetic agent by a physician, an optometrist or a private clinic in the course of an insured act covered by the RAMQ. A similar class action, but for different fees, is also before the courts. For more information, see the Raunet case page.
A Partial Settlement Agreement has been reached between the Plaintiff and all of the Clinics who are represented by counsel. This Agreement provides that the Clinics agree to cooperate and to provide information to the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff undertakes to discontinue his claim against the Clinics.
This Agreement has been approved by the Court on May 30, 2023. The case will proceed only against the Attorney General of Quebec, representing the Minister of Health and Social Services.
Are you a member?
You are covered by this class action if:
– You have paid for the use of a drug or anaesthetic agent by a physician, optometrist or private clinic;
– The amount you paid was greater than the cost to the physician, optometrist or private clinic;
– The use of this drug or anesthetic agent was made in the course of an insured act covered by the RAMQ; AND
– This amount was paid between May 15, 2011, and January 26, 2017.
Summary of the class action
The plaintiff alleges that physicians, optometrists and medical clinics illegally billed their patients fees greater than the actual cost associated with a drug or an anesthetic agent used in the performance of an insured act covered by the RAMQ. The plaintiff is also pursuing the Government of Quebec because it knew about and encouraged the practice through its inaction.
The Health Insurance Act is the law that allows the entire population of Quebec to have free access to medical care. This law prohibits extra-billing, including the billing of accessory fees like the ones at issue in this case, since its purpose is to make the health system free of charge for the public. However, the Act does call for some clear exceptions to this prohibition, including the billing of a specific incidental fee for the use of a drug or anaesthetic agent. However, the amount billed to the patient must not exceed the actual cost of the professional. Since the defendants failed to respect this condition, the practice is considered illegal billing.
The plaintiff seeks to put an end to this harmful practice on behalf of the Quebec public and to obtain a just compensation for the fees that were illegally collected.
The class action was authorized by the Honorable Michel Yergeau of the Superior Court in a judgment (French only) issued on August 18, 2017.
On March 25, 2021, the Quebec Court of Appeal heard this case jointly with the Raunet matter, in a dispute regarding the Superior Court’s jurisdiction to hear the class action. In a judgment (French only) rendered on April 23, 2021, the appeal was dismissed in relation to all parties except the RAMQ. As this class action was already authorized, this decision means that it can now move forward. The Supreme Court of Canada denied the defendants’ application for leave to appeal.
The members are jointly represented by TJL and Grenier Verbauwhede Avocats.