Trucker who suffered heart attack files class action over sleep aid

Legal action follows FDA, Health Canada warning over ‘U-Dream’ supplement

Rob Kruyt/BIV files

A B.C. truck driver is suing supplement manufacturer Biotrade Canada Ltd., claiming in a class action that the company’s now-recalled “U-Dream Life” sleep-aid product gave him a heart attack that put him out of work.

James Ruckman filed a notice of civil claim under the Class Proceedings Act in BC Supreme Court on December 23. According to the claim, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sounded the alarm about Biotrade’s over-the-counter sleep-aid product when lab tests showed it contained substances “structurally similar” to those found in prescription sedatives, including zopiclone. Days later, Health Canada issued an advisory warning consumers that U-Dream products “may pose serious health risks.”

Zopiclone, according to the advisory, can cause dependence and abuse with side effects including “hallucinations, and abnormal sleep behaviours while not fully awake including sleep driving.”

“The Defendant has advised consumers to avoid U-Dream while it conducts its own tests, saying it doesn’t know how the compound made its way into samples that were tested,” the claim states.

Ruckman, 57, claims he bought U-Dream at a Burnaby Whole Foods in September 2019, and took it for 10 nights straight until he suffered a heart attack on September 30, after which he was hopitalized for 12 days. He claims he has since lost his job as a truck driver and lost his licence.

“The Defendant caused the drug to be introduced into the stream of commerce in Canada, and it knew that any dangers of adverse effects related to the drug would cause foreseeable injury to the Plaintiff and Class Members,” the claim states.

Ruckman seeks class certification and damages for negligence, failure to warn, unjust enrichment, battery, and violations of the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act.

The allegations have not been tested or proven in court and Biotrade Canada had not filed a response to the claim by press time.