A multibillion-dollar settlement with multiple U.S. states won’t stop B.C. from pursuing legal action against Purdue Pharma for its alleged role in the opioid overdose crisis, says the province’s attorney general.
David Eby released a statement Monday saying the province was watching the U.S. litigation closely, including a tentative deal that could be worth up to US$12 billion, over time.
The Sackler family, which owns Purdue, has offered up US$3 billion, along with the company itself which would be reformed and direct future profits to its creditors as a part of a “global resolution.”
But Eby said any such resolution must also include Canada, where the drug crisis has put severe stress on the health-care system.
“To the extent that there is a real desire on the part of Purdue entities and members of the Sackler family to achieve ‘global resolution,’ then any proposed agreement ought to account for and include payment for the Canadian claims, which are presently advanced in a structured and consolidated manner through a national class-action lawsuit commenced in B.C.,” said Eby.
“However, 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.”
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Eby said the province was willing to deal with Purdue in order to settle the claims, but that if B.C. isn’t included in the process it will continue to press its case through the courts.
Last year, the B.C. government launched lawsuits against 40 companies involved in the manufacture of opioids, including Purdue Pharma, the first legal action of its kind in Canada.
On Monday, Purdue Pharma filed for bankruptcy in White Plains, New York, amid its ongoing legal woes related to the production and sale of prescription painkiller OxyContin.
The company is facing some 2,600 lawsuits from governments and other entities.
A number of U.S. states have also yet to sign onto the tentative deal, with several objecting to the settlement in bankruptcy court, arguing it will never reach the US$12-billion mark and that it leaves the company free from a finding of guilt.
-With files from the Associated Press