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Ontario passes bill to join opioid class action lawsuit launched by BC

December 13, 2019   by Shawn Jeffords - THE CANADIAN PRESS

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TORONTO – Ontario is joining five other provinces in a class-action lawsuit against opioid manufacturers in a bid to recoup costs the government alleges can be directly attributed to the overdose crisis.

The province passed legislation late Wednesday allowing it to join the British Columbia-led suit, which alleges that drugmakers falsely marketed opioids as less addictive than other pain drugs.

Attorney General Doug Downey said the class-action suit is a way to hold the firms accountable for their actions, which he says contributed to increased addiction rates and deaths.

“We’re going after 40 manufacturers and wholesalers because of the damage they caused to our communities, to our people,” he said. “The increased costs in corrections. The increased costs in the health system, in emergency departments. It is an epidemic.”

British Columbia’s suit seeks to recover costs from manufacturers and distributors dating back to 1996, when the pain drug OxyContin was introduced in the Canadian market.

None of the allegations made in the lawsuit have been tested in court.

No statement of defence could be found on the B.C. Supreme Court website Thursday, but Purdue Pharma Inc. – which makes OxyContin – said it followed all of Health Canada’s regulations and it’s very concerned about the opioid crisis in B.C. and across Canada.

“This crisis is a complex and multifaceted public health issue that involves both prescription opioids and, increasingly, illegally produced and consumed opioids,” the company said in a statement. “All stakeholders, including the pharmaceutical industry, have a role to play in providing practical and sustainable solutions.”

Downey said the province would invest any potential awards from the litigation into front-line mental health and addiction services.

“The costs are enormous,” Downey said Thursday of addressing addictions. “I’m not going to give an actual number, but it is in the hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Ontario joins New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan and Alberta who have already announced their support for the lawsuit.

The latest numbers from a national advisory committee studying the opioid crisis show close to 14,000 Canadians have been killed by the drugs over the last four years.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said she supports the government’s move, but urged the Progressive Conservatives not to wait for the resolution of the court case to fight the addictions crisis.

The province should start by lifting the cap it’s placed on the number of safe consumption and treatment sites permitted across Ontario, she said.

“There’s no doubt Ontario belongs as part of that lawsuit,” said Horwath. “The damage that has been done to people’s lives is horrific. However, there’s a lot more that needs to be done to support folks who are still struggling with opioid addictions.”

Interim Liberal Leader John Fraser said the government should join the lawsuit but must also continue to invest in addictions treatment.

“Recouping those costs is critical,” he said. “That money’s already been spent. … When they do recoup those costs, they should actually direct them towards things where opioids had an impact.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 12, 2019.

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16 Comments » for Ontario passes bill to join opioid class action lawsuit launched by BC
  1. Edward Hartford says:

    I would like to sign up to take part in this opiate lawsuit . I have dealt with opiate addiction my whole life and it started in the 90s from doctors prescriptions. I am still taking suboxone to cope and was on methadone many times . I stopped maturing at an early age and still dont really deal with problems the way I should .

    • Trevor Cowan says:

      You are in the same situation as me. You are not alone. I also would like to join i own my business and would pay for a lawer to get even for a lost life.

  2. Maxin Murphy says:

    maxin1965@ my life was ruined because of opiades. I was in three bad accidents from November 2006 to February 2007. I was administered percocet at first in three years I was given 80 oxycodone then they gave me fentanyl. I went from making 140 thousand dollars a year to living on the streets

  3. Tony Smilovic says:

    How would I get my name on the list with the lawsuit.? Prescribed over 20 years which is not a joke. Any information would be greatly appreciated and how to join the lawsuit.

  4. Shawna says:

    You can sign up here:

    They’ll send you all the info. IR OxyContin almost cost me my life. I joined the lawsuit last month.

  5. Charles Edwards says:

    March 24-2020
    I have had multiple operations since 1981 started taking pain meds perkadan, Demerol , morphine, Demerol injections, Percocet OxyNeo non stop to date, I have heart and breathing issues, depression, anxiety, memory loss. Lost two homes, living in poverty’. I need help

  6. Terry Finn says:

    I would like to take part in filing a claim for the opioid , oxycodone and fentynal patch lawsuit . For the last 5-8 yrs. I have been prescribed either fentynal patches oxycodone and Percocet for pain

  7. Terry Finn says:

    I’ve been prescribed fentynal patches for 5-7 yrs. And now I’m prescribed oxycodone . This has ruined my life now I have to take them because I’m addicted to them . How can I make a claim for this. Please reply back to me regarding this matter. Thank You Terry Finn

  8. Leo says:

    I was given oxycontin and oxyneo from my doctors for 25 years. The doctors have stopped giving them out now my life has been destroyed because this medication. I’m still in pain daily. Its been almost a year now without that medication still get severe headaches daily , constantly agitated , feeling dizzy, depression. thanks purdu. Anyway thats my story. I’m currently in a pain management clinic in thunder bay Ontario a lot of people here have been affected by this drug. On this drug from 1993 to 2019. I am not the same person I use to be and I’ll never be the same.

  9. Kenneth M Dagenais says:

    I have had cancer twice and beat it both times but I had to pay for all the narcotics they put me on and I’m still on them after 35 years from 2010 to 20/20 I had to pay for my drugs in there still not covering them all!!!

    • Daniel L says:

      I have been on every opioid painkiller morphine, oxycodone, oxyneo, fentynal patches, hydromorphone, Dilaudid, and tried Suboxone and now on nothing and been in bed very ill, feel like death 50 days and can’t get out of bed in so much pain and zero energy, I’m beyond pissed off, and would like someone to give me some info on this lawsuit and make them pay before I end up either on the streets or 6 feet under.

  10. Mike Schroeder says:

    I had a car accident in 1988 and was prescribed Percocet, oxicodent, morphine, dialadas, was on the methadone program, I have had a stroke in 2012, have scallious and arthritis in my one leg, I have no energy depressed, I am financially strapped and used to work from declining health and being over prescribed opiates I am on financial assistance, I have been over prescribed opiates all my life. Since 1988 til recently, where I cut myself off in 2019, Cause I can’t function, my stroke has left me with memory loss and where I can’t take care of myself, I would like any info on help how to start an action lawsuit so I can have a better life. Thank you

  11. I want to join the other people in the class action lawsuits against the company distributing oxycocet and OxyContin After years of being on both drugs I was changed doctors and my new doctor would not prescribe me anything so I ended up on methodone which I have taken for many years .I am 70 years old and I am totally embarassed having to go to the clinic weekly.Someone needs to be accountable for my addiction today which is now method one.

  12. gerry roache says:

    I have been on oxcyccocet since May 1990 while working as a conductor on the railroad I am still on 8 a day oxcecocet My life style my personal life my brain all of my person sucks I been thinking about suicide.NOT WANTING to live life anymore I am 71 yrs of age and have a beautiful 48 yr old daughter and a beautiful 19 yr old Granddaughter in moncton n.b. Theres 11 in my family originally from Halifax N.S. Everybody knows about my suicide thoughts even my Dr. I am scared because i might do it

  13. gerry roache says:

    I need to know hou to register for the lawsuit Thank you gerry

  14. Wayne Brown says:

    I have a long history of Crohn’s disease and with that opiate prescription. Eventually I went to a methadone doctor for help getting off the mess my family doc prescribed me. At one point I had to get a scope so the doc put me on hydromorphine temp. She ended up leaving me on 3 18 mg hydros and 5 d4 daluded based on my telling her I was in pain from Crohn’s for 3 years. I’m now on methadone but at one point went to fentnyll use This is a brief description of my history, I’m just curious if I can do anything as it cost me my job my marriage my house my licence my truck etc. Thanks, Wayne Brown

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