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B.C. pleased with Oklahoma ruling in opioids case as it continues lawsuit

British Columbia's attorney general says he is pleased with the findings of a court in Oklahoma that found Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries helped fuel the state's opioid crisis as it ordered the company to pay $572 million US, more than twice the amount another drug manufacturer agreed to pay in a settlement.The province filed a proposed class-action lawsuit a year ago against dozens of pharmaceutical companies in a bid to recoup the health-care costs associated with opioid addiction.The untested suit alleges the companies falsely marketed opioids as less addictive than other pain drugs and helped trigger an overdose crisis that has killed thousands since OxyContin was introduced to the Canadian market in 1996.David Eby likened the aim of the lawsuit in British Columbia to the one in Oklahoma."The lawsuit we launched in 2018 holds pharmaceutical companies similarly accountable for the harm they have done to British Columbians and for the financial burdens they have placed on our health-care system," he alleged in a statement on Monday."Along with our recently enacted Opioid Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act, this measure is another example of the work that this government is undertaking every day to address the ongoing opioid crisis and build a better system of care and support for British Columbians."Objecting to quantities of opioidsThe civil claim filed by the B.C. government names the maker of OxyContin — Purdue Pharma Inc. — as well as other major drug manufacturers, and also targets pharmacies, alleging they should have known the quantities of opioids they were distributing exceeded any legitimate market.None of the allegations contained in the civil claim has been proven in court.Johnson & Johnson was found liable Monday of fuelling an opioid epidemic in Oklahoma by deceptively marketing painkillers and was ordered to pay $572 million US. (Zeba Siddiqui/Reuters)A statement of defence from Purdue Pharma could not be found on the B.C. Supreme Court website on Monday, but ...Read more

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