FILE – British Columbia Attorney General David Eby pauses while responding to questions in Vancouver on Friday May 24, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

B.C. wants to be part of global resolution in opioid company bankruptcy claim

Government says settlement must include Canadian claims for devastation created by overdose crisis

The British Columbia government says any proposed settlement from opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma needs to include Canadian claims for the devastation created by the overdose crisis.

Purdue, the maker of the pain drug OxyContin, has filed for bankruptcy in the United States and proposed a multibillion-dollar plan to settle with thousands of state and local governments.

B.C. Attorney General David Eby said Monday the province has been monitoring the developments including a tentative agreement that proposes to resolve the claims with Purdue, which is owned by the Sackler family.

READ MORE: B.C. pleased with Oklahoma ruling in opioids case as it continues lawsuit

Purdue Pharma Canada says in a statement it is a separate company from the U.S. firm and the actions taken to settle litigation in America don’t directly affect its business in Canada.

Eby said the province remains “ready and willing” to participate in the effort to achieve a resolution but if B.C. is not included in the process then the government will to continue its lawsuit that names Purdue and several other opioid makers as defendants.

“If, however, B.C. is not included in this process, we are determined to continue to pursue our claims against the Purdue entities and against members of the Sackler family to the fullest extent permitted by law,” he said in a statement.

“To date there has been no effort on the part of Purdue entities and the Sacklers to involve Canadian jurisdictions in the discussions that have led to the rumoured settlement in the U.S.”

The province filed a proposed class-action lawsuit a year ago alleging drug manufactures falsely marketed opioids as less addictive than other pain medicines, triggering an overdose crisis that has killed thousands.

None of the allegations have been tested in court.

A statement of defence from Purdue Pharma could not be found on the B.C. Supreme Court website on Monday. Purdue Pharma has previously said that it followed all of Health Canada’s regulations, including those governing marketing, and it’s very concerned about the opioid crisis in B.C. and across Canada.

The pharmaceutical giant filed for bankruptcy late Sunday, step one in a plan it says would provide US$10 billion to $12 billion to help reimburse state and local governments over overdose deaths.

READ MORE: OxyContin maker reaches tentative U.S. opioid-crisis settlement

The plan calls for turning Purdue into a “public benefit trust” that would continue selling opioids but hand its profits over to those who have sued the company. The Sackler family would give up ownership of Purdue and contribute at least $3 billion toward the settlement.

It will be up to a federal bankruptcy judge to decide whether to approve or reject the settlement or seek modifications.

Two dozen states plus key lawyers who represent many of the 2,000-plus local governments suing the Connecticut-based company have signed on to the plan.

But other states have come out strongly against it, arguing that it won’t provide as much money as promised.

— With files from the Associated Press

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police recover body of Tofino man near Hot Springs Cove

An RCMP dive team has recovered the body of a Tofino man in his 50s.

Winter hits Tofino and Ucluelet with snow and power outages

Ucluelet’s new public works foreman tackles town’s first snowfall first day on the job.

UPDATED: Itska back in owner’s arms after Oak Bay man returns dog taken from Tofino

Shannon Boothman expects to be reunited with Itska on Sunday

Tofino and Ucluelet’s Top 10 sports and arts stories of 2019

Revisiting the Coast’s best sports and arts newsmakers of the past year.

Police suspect foul play in Cowichan Tribes death

Police are looking at foul play in relation to a death on… Continue reading

Hospital patient pleads guilty to dumbbell assault of nurse in Abbotsford

Neale Heath admits to assault causing bodily harm in attack last September

‘Epic sky palace’: B.C. businesses help create dream treehouse for boy recovering from cancer

‘It was kind of a bright shining beacon at the end of a horrible, dark tunnel’

VIDEO: Nickelback gears up for nostalgia tour

Canadian band joins Stone Temple Pilots for a summer tour that includes just one stop in Canada

B.C. teacher suspended for poking student in stomach, pulling another’s ponytail

Teacher also swore in classroom, used Facebook to contact students

Larry Walker Jr. and Sr. keeping expectations low for hall-of-fame induction

Walker needs 75 percent of votes in order to be inducted into Cooperstown

Gene Simmons to launch new Titans of Rock music festival in Grand Forks

The rock legend has partnered with Chuck Varabioff to run Titans of Rock in Grand Forks

VIDEO: 17 Husky pups rescued from Interior B.C. property find new homes

The BC SPCA caught the moment on video the last puppy, Uki, met his owners

Most Read