The Canadian province of British Columbia has filed a class action lawsuit in the Supreme Court of British Columbia against opioid drug companies. Claimants argue marketing practices have had devastating impacts on the lives of thousands of citizens.
The suit targets 40 pharmaceutical manufacturers, including maker of OxyContin Purdue Pharma, and aims to recover opioid-related costs incurred by the government’s healthcare system in the midst of the opioid epidemic. In a statement, British Columbia Attorney General David Eby said, ‘in court, we will argue that these drug companies deceptively marketed their products knowing full well the potential consequences, and as a result, British Columbia has incurred great costs.’ The statement also announced legislation to be introduced this fall session to address opioid damages and healthcare cost recovery, similar, the release said, to ‘legislation that supported ‘Big Tobacco’ litigation in 1998.’ This is the first lawsuit filed by a Canadian province, following similar ones filed by several US states and cities, including Massachusetts, Kentucky and several others.
Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions said, ‘drug companies must take responsibility for their role, and need to put the lives of people ahead of profits.’ She added, ‘I have sat with family members who have lost loved ones to overdose, and we are taking action to address the terrible impact overdose is having on the lives of our children, partners and friends.