A lawyer representing 14 patients whose drug for treating hypothyroidism was reformulated without their knowledge have filed a class-action suit request to the Central Region District Court.

The lawsuit is aimed against Perrigo and GlaxoSmithKline Israel, and two health funds – Clalit and Maccabi Health Services.

The lawyer has asked for NIS 4.5 billion in damages for his clients.

The Health Ministry did not initially require the companies to tell doctors about the change in the widely taken drug, yet these patients who take the drug for their chronic condition claim to have suffered serious side effects.

The ministry set up a committee to investigate the incident, but the lawyer and his clients were not satisfied.

The lawyer claimed that the health funds did not report problems with the drug, Eltroxin, “even though they knew about them,” and that the ministry “glossed over the health insurers’ obligations to update their doctors.”

The hypothyroid patients were exposed to the new formulation for seven months before they realized the drug was different, the attorney said.