Purdue Pharma says it has followed all of Health Canada’s regulations, including those governing marketing, after British Columbia filed a lawsuit this week trying to recoup the health-care costs of the opioids crisis.
The lawsuit filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia names the OxyContin-maker and other major drug manufacturers.
Purdue Pharma (Canada) also says it has adhered to the code of ethical practices as a member of Innovative Medicines Canada, a pharmaceutical industry organization that works with governments, insurance companies and health-care professionals.
British Columbia launched its proposed class-action lawsuit Wednesday against dozens of pharmaceutical companies, alleging they falsely marketed opioids as less addictive than other pain drugs and helped trigger an overdose crisis that has killed thousands.
The notice of civil claim names 40 defendants.
Statements of defence have not been filed and none of the allegations contained in the civil claim has been proven in court.
Nearly 4,000 Canadians died from apparent opioid overdoses last year. B.C. remained the province hardest hit, with 1,399 deaths, according to Statistics Canada.
B.C. is bringing the action on behalf of a class representing all federal, provincial and territorial governments and agencies, which during the period of 1996 until now paid health care, pharmaceutical and treatment costs related to opioids.
The class period begins in 1996 when Purdue first introduced and began to market OxyContin in Canada.
“Purdue Pharma (Canada) is deeply concerned about the opioids crisis, in British Columbia, and right across Canada,” the company said in a statement on Thursday.
“The opioids crisis is a complex and multi-faceted public health issue that involves both prescription opioids and, increasingly, illegally produced and consumed opioids, as indicated in Health Canada’s latest quarterly monitoring report. All stakeholders, including the pharmaceutical industry, have a role to play in providing practical and sustainable solutions.”
The company said it is reviewing the civil claim filed by the B.C. government.