Alberta introduces legislation to join B.C.’s lawsuit against opioid companies

EDMONTON – The province introduced legislation – the Opioid Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act – to allow the province to participate in a national class action lawsuit against more than 40 opioid companies. 

“This legislation is necessary to participate in the proposed national class action,” said Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health Thursday.

Last August B.C. filed the lawsuit alleging companies involved in the manufacturing, distributing and selling of opioids downplayed the addictive potential and risks of the drugs in their advertising. The lawsuit alleges this contributed to the health crisis. 

Taxpayers should not have to shoulder the health-care costs resulting from the actions of opioid manufacturers and wholesalers.”

-Jason Luan, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions

“Taxpayers should not have to shoulder the health-care costs resulting from the actions of opioid manufacturers and wholesalers,” said Jason Luan, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.

“This is the next step in our efforts to hold these companies accountable for their wrongdoing.”

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The bill is similar to B.C.’s opioid costs recovery legislation.

Passing it would help strengthen Canada’s negotiating position and promote certification of the class action.

The legislation would:

  • Allow Alberta to recover costs on an aggregate basis, rather than calculating individual costs.
  • Allow the recovery of health-care costs, regardless of when the damages occurred.
  • Permit the use of statistical information to establish causation and quantify damages or health-care costs.
  • Help demonstrate Alberta’s support for the proposed national class action.

If passed, the Opioid Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act would enable Alberta to participate in B.C.’s proposed national class action suit against these opioid companies.

If passed, the Opioid Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act would enable Alberta to participate in B.C.’s proposed national class action suit against these opioid companies. Click To Tweet

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An average of two Albertans a day continue to die from opioid overdoses. Last year, almost 800 people in our province fatally overdosed on opioids.

An average of two Albertans a day continue to die from opioid overdoses. Click To Tweet

The decision to join the national class action complements Alberta’s ongoing work to address the opioid crisis, including the recent announcement of funding for 4,000 new addiction treatment spaces.

Budget 2019 includes $140 million over four years to increase access to mental health and addiction treatment, and Minister Luan recently announced an expert advisory council to make recommendations on a new mental health and addictions strategy.

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