(Vancouver) The government of British Columbia announced Wednesday that it had reached a $150 million settlement, covering all provinces, with Purdue Pharma Canada to meet healthcare costs associated with the sale and marketing of opioid pain relievers cover.
Posted at 6:22 p.m
The province’s attorney general, David Eby, argued Wednesday that it was the largest settlement of a state health claim in Canadian history.
The government of British Columbia filed a class action lawsuit against more than 40 pharmaceutical companies in 2018 on behalf of federal, provincial and territorial governments in Canada. The class-action lawsuit sought to recover healthcare costs for the “wrongful conduct of opioid manufacturers, distributors and their advisers” regarding opioid painkillers.
According to Minister Eby, the proposed rule has been accepted by all governments in Canada.
He said a plan was being developed to determine how the money would be divided based on the impact of opioids in each province.
“The money will be used to support provincial programs to fight the opioid epidemic, which we believe Purdue’s actions through their misleading marketing have contributed to,” he said.
Between 2016 and September 2021, more than 27,000 people across the country died from toxic drugs.
“We took this action to help cover healthcare costs and blame opioid companies for their role in allegedly using deceptive marketing tactics to increase sales, resulting in rising rates of addiction and overdoses,” Mr Eby told a news conference.
The Attorney General adds that his government is “committed to pursuing criminal prosecutions against other manufacturers and retailers who put profits before people.”
The Attorney General therefore recalled that many manufacturers, retailers and consultants are still being sued in the class action lawsuit. “And they are warned by this agreement that we will pursue them relentlessly. »
billions gobbled up
David Eby says healthcare costs related to opioid crisis are “likely in the billions”.
“In the United States, claims are in the trillions and have caused the bankruptcy of Purdue’s American branch,” he recalled.
He explained that Canada risks becoming part of a group of unsecured creditors in the US bankruptcy proceedings where the total available is only $15 million for the entire group.
The class action lawsuit initiated by British Columbia prevented Purdue from liquidating its assets in Canada to pay its creditors in the United States, which would have left Canadians nothing after America’s bankruptcy.
“So in that respect, this is a remarkable achievement for British Columbia and all the provinces of Canada,” the attorney general said.
In the United States, more than 3,000 lawsuits have been filed by governments, unions, hospitals and other entities to hold manufacturers, pharmacies and retailers accountable.
The American companies involved, mostly those that manufactured or sold the drugs, have already had to pay more than $47 billion in settlements, damages, or penalties imposed by civil or criminal courts.
The British Columbia Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the government’s motion for class action certification in the fall of 2023. The provincial government has said the proposed settlement with Purdue could open the door to new amicable settlements.