OHS Canada Magazine

B.C. in court against pharma companies in bid to certify opioid class action lawsuit

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November 27, 2023
By The Canadian Press

Health & Safety opioids

Photo: Getty Images

The British Columbia government goes up against dozens of health care and pharmaceutical companies in court today in a bid to get certification for a class-action lawsuit over the costs of the opioid crisis.

It comes even after the Supreme Court of Canada agreed this month to hear a constitutional challenge by four of the companies who say a law allowing B.C. to recover costs on behalf of other governments is an overreach.

Those companies then went back to the Supreme Court of B.C. to seek a delay of the certification hearing while the high court rules, but the judge said an adjournment wasn’t in the interests of justice.

The province began the legal odyssey in August 2018 by passing the Opioid Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act, seeking costs from firms alleged to have contributed to opioid addiction.

B.C. declared a public health emergency in 2016 over the crisis, and since then nearly 13,000 people have died of overdoses in the province.


The certification hearing is expected to last about four weeks and a civil trial would then have to be held to determine if the companies are liable for damages.


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