05/13/2013 15:52 EDT | Updated 07/13/2013 05:12 EDT

Marchese threatens Windsor hospital with defamation suit

The company at the centre of the controversy surrounding diluted chemotherapy drugs administered in two provinces has threatened to sue Windsor Regional Hospital.

In a letter sent to the hospital, Marchese Health Services' lawyer, Randy A. Pepper accuses the hospital of “repeated defamatory articles, press releases and broadcasts."

Diluted chemotherapy treatments were given to about 1,200 people in Ontario and New Brunswick .

The premixed bags contained too much saline solution, which diluted the chemotherapy agent, said Cancer Care Ontario.

The premixed bags of a chemotherapy drug and saline solution were prepared by Marchese Health Care in Hamilton, Ont., Cancer Care Ontario said. The supplier produces and labels these medications.

Pepper said Marchese "would prefer to set the record straight rather than litigate this matter."

Pepper alleges the hospital has "significantly injured my clients’ reputations and standing in the community." He wants material removed from the hospital's website. He also said "an agreeable press release can be negotiated" for publication on the website.

Hospital CEO David Musyj refuses.

Unless the hospital agrees to issue the joint news release with "fair and accurate facts" concerning the drugs, the company plans to move ahead with defamation proceedings against the hospital.

"This is not going to stop the hospital from communicating with patients families and staff, both publicly and privately," Musyj said. "So if that was the intent of getting the warning it's not going to be listened to."

Musyj said it's nearly impossible to meet with the nearly 300 patients affected, so the hospital posts information on its website.

"It seems they have an issue with our website content on this issue. I don’t see the problem with it," Musyj said. "Every one of us is culpable, no more than one or the other. Every one of us has a role to play in making sure this is fixed."