Ontario government will join B.C.'s proposed class action against opioid manufacturers

TORONTO – The Ontario government says it plans to join British Columbia’s proposed class action lawsuit against dozens of opioid manufacturers.

Attorney General Caroline Mulroney says the province will introduce legislation that, if passed, would enable Ontario’s participation in the suit launched late last year.

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She says Ontario would invest any potential awards won from the litigation into frontline mental health and addiction services.

British Columbia filed the proposed class action against dozens of pharmaceutical companies in a bid to recoup the health-care costs associated with opioid addiction.

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The untested suit alleges the companies falsely marketed opioids as less addictive than other pain drugs and helped trigger an overdose crisis that has killed thousands since OxyContin was introduced to the Canadian market in 1996.

It names the maker of OxyContin – Purdue Pharma Inc. – as well as other major drug manufacturers, and also targets pharmacies, including Shoppers Drug Mart Corp. and its owner Loblaw Companies Ltd., claiming they should have known the quantities of opioids they were distributing exceeded any legitimate market.

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© 2019 The Canadian Press

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