Released on June 29, 2022
Further to the Government of British Columbia's announcement this morning, opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma Canada has agreed to a first of its kind settlement in which it will provide compensation to all federal, provincial and territorial governments in Canada, including Saskatchewan, for a portion of the damage opioid addiction has caused.
"Opioid manufacturers, distributors and consultants have a responsibility to provide compensation for their role in the suffering of the many Saskatchewan residents struggling with opioid addiction, and this settlement will assist in those efforts," Mental Health and Addictions Minister Everett Hindley said. "While no amount of money will make up for the losses our community has suffered, the Government of Saskatchewan is committed to holding the opioid industry accountable for acts of alleged wrongdoing committed in the manufacture and distribution of opioid products."
The proposed Purdue Pharma Canada settlement totals $150 million in monetary benefits to be shared by the various levels of government in addressing opioid addictions. While the agreement is subject to final approval by the courts, it is expected to be the largest governmental health claim settlement in Canadian history and the first time Purdue Pharma Canada has agreed to settle with a non-U.S. government.
This settlement was reached in the context of a proposed class action on behalf of all federal, provincial and territorial governments in Canada to recover health care costs that resulted from the alleged wrongful conduct of opioid manufacturers, distributors and their consultants. The suit alleges that these parties engaged in deceptive marketing practices resulting in increased rates of addiction and overdose.
Purdue Pharma Canada is just one among 40 manufacturers and distributors named in the class action. As part of this settlement, Purdue Pharma Canada agrees to cooperate in the prosecution of other parties.
2021 saw the highest number of opioid-related harms on record in Saskatchewan. A record $470 million was allocated to Mental Health and Addictions in the 2022-23 Provincial Budget, the largest budget allocation ever for the third consecutive year.
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