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B.C. leads efforts in legal settlement against Purdue Pharma

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Purdue Pharma will pay $150-million thanks to a B.C.-led class-action lawsuit to recover healthcare costs related to the sale and marketing of opioid-based pain medications.

B.C. Government officials said the lawsuit was brought forward by the provincial government on behalf of all Canadian governments.

“B.C.’s efforts to negotiate this unique settlement, together with other Canadian governments pave the way for additional settlements to be reached in the ongoing litigation against other manufacturers and distributors of opioid products,” said David Eby, Attorney General.

“We know that no amount of money can bring back those who have died, but we are committed to holding corporations and others accountable for acts of alleged wrongdoing committed in the manufacturing and distribution of opioid products.”

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The B.C. government alleges that opioid manufacturers, distributors and consultants engaged in deceptive marketing practices to increase sales.

B.C. government officials believe this led to increased rates of addiction and overdose.

“The aim of the class action and legislation is to recover health-care costs that resulted from wrongful conduct of opioid manufacturers, distributors and their consultants,” said provincial officials. 

“Purdue Canada is one among over 40 manufacturers and distributors named in the class action commenced in 2018 and scheduled for a certification hearing in the next year.”

Purdue Canada will pay $150-million plus additional benefits, such as access to information and documents relevant to the lawsuit.

That said, the proposed agreement is still subject to final approval by the court, which is expected in the next few months.

“In addition to the Purdue Canada settlement, B.C.’s application to certify its class-action lawsuit in the B.C. Supreme Court has been scheduled for fall 2023. This could open up the door to further settlements to recover healthcare costs,” said the province.

“We are standing up to multinational pharmaceutical companies, advancing decriminalization, investing in new treatment and recovery services, expanding harm-reduction measures like prescribed safe supply, and building a comprehensive and seamless continuum of mental health and addictions care that British Columbians need and deserve,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.

Notably, B.C. Government officials said the settlement was reached before the allegations against Purdue Canada have been proven in court.

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