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Supreme Court to hear from companies on opioid cost recovery

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Supreme Court to hear from pharmaceutical companies trying to stop B.C. from filing class action in the opioid file.


The Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to hear the appeal of four pharmaceutical companies seeking to stop the British Columbia government from filing a class action over opioids .

The pharmaceutical companies Sanis and Sandoz Canada, the distributor McKesson Canada and the pharmacy chain Shoppers Drug Mart are appealing judgments already rendered in British Columbia .

These rulings validated the province's right to pass legislation that allows it to recover opioid-related health care costs from those who manufactured, distributed and sold such products.

The British Columbia government enacted its recovery law in 2018. Section 11 allows the province to take class action against opioid suppliers, on its own behalf or on behalf of of the federal government or any province that had to pay to treat patients who had taken these drugs.

In October, the government of Quebec filed a bill for the province to join British Columbia's class action request against more than 40 pharmaceutical companies.

Sanis, Sandoz, McKesson and Shoppers Drug Mart unsuccessfully challenged the British Columbia law at first instance and then on appeal. The companies argued that section 11 of the law exceeded provincial authority and violated the Constitution.

The Attorney General of the British Columbia's Niki Sharma said Thursday that the province is ready to take on corporations in the Supreme Court.

The British Columbia Opioid Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act is modeled after a similar law in the province that requires cigarette manufacturers to pay a portion of the costs tobacco-related health care.

In 2005, Canada's highest court ruled that this law was constitutionally valid.

We lead the country in recovering costs from companies that have harmed our citizens, said Niki Sharma. We believe these companies should be held accountable for their actions, we are doing a good job in BC in this regard, and we will continue to do so.

No date for hearing the appeal in the Supreme Court has been set.

With information from The Canadian Press

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116