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

Oak Bay deputy police chief and family cut Guatemala vacation short to return home

Belize border, punctured gas tank part of the adventure

West Shore businesses bring fitness online during COVID-19

At-home workouts offered to help community keep fit

Program makes a connection with isolated Victoria seniors

Phoning Seniors Together program lines up volunteers with seniors at Luther Court

Mental Health: Fractured services leave community to fill gaps

Greater Victoria service providers working together to help youth

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Researchers look at humidity as a weapon in the fight against airborne viruses

Regular hand washing, physical distancing and PPE for health care workers remains best line of defense

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at federal prison in B.C.; other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, refusal to work notice sent, says correctional officer

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

Nanaimo’s Harmac mill works to fill doubled pulp order for medical masks and gowns

Mill’s president says extra cleaning in place and workers are social distancing

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Most Read