Providence Health Care and PIVOT Legal Society begin injunction hearing

Vancouver, March 24 - On Tuesday, March 25, Providence Health Care (Providence) and the PIVOT Legal Society, on behalf of five former SALOME patients, will be asking the BC Supreme Court to grant an injunction allowing participants exiting the SALOME study access to diacetylmorphine (heroin) assisted treatment.

The legal action comes in the wake of Federal Minister of Health Rona Ambrose’s October 3, 2013 changes to federal regulations making diacetylmorphine a restricted substance under the Food and Drug Act, preventing it from being available through Health Canada’s Special Access Programme (SAP). SAP is designed to let patients in exceptional cases get medications normally not available in Canada. This access is limited to patients with serious or life-threatening conditions on a compassionate or emergency basis when conventional therapies have failed, are unsuitable, or are unavailable.

Through SAP, Providence doctors had requested – and received – access to diacetylmorphine for 21 of the participants exiting the SALOME research study in Vancouver, before the regulations closed off access to this treatment.  

Providence and PIVOT launched a constitutional challenge on November 13, 2013 to overturn this decision preventing the delivery of this life-saving treatment to vulnerable addictions patients. The filing requested, among other things, a declaration that the new federal government regulations infringe on the Charter of Rights, are unconstitutional and should be struck down.

What: Injunction hearing on access to prescribed heroin
When: March 25, 26, 27, 2014 at 10:00 AM
Where: British Columbia Supreme Court House, 800 Smithe Street, Vancouver B.C.

For more information on the constitutional challenge, please click here:

For a copy of PIVOT’s Media Advisory please visit:

Providence Health Care (PHC) is one of Canada's largest faith-based health care organizations, operating 16 health care facilities in Greater Vancouver. PHC operates one of two adult academic health science centres in the province – St. Paul’s Hospital – performs cutting-edge research in more than 30 clinical specialties, and focuses its services on six “populations of emphasis”: cardio-pulmonary risks and illnesses, HIV/AIDS, mental health, renal risks and illness, specialized needs in aging and urban health and is home to the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.

For more information please contact:

Dave Lefebvre
Senior Communications Specialist – Media Relations
Providence Health Care
604-682-2344 xt.66987
604-837-6003 (c)

Doug King
Lawyer, Pivot Legal Society
(778) 898-6349