Opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma Canada has announced it has reached an agreement with the federal, provincial and territorial governments of Canada, including Saskatchewan, in the face of a class-action lawsuit for damages caused by the opioid crisis.
"Opioid manufacturers, distributors and consultants have a responsibility to provide compensation for their role in the suffering of the many Saskatchewan residents struggling with opioid addiction, and this settlement will assist in those efforts," Mental Health and Addictions Minister Everett Hindley said. "While no amount of money will make up for the losses our community has suffered, the Government of Saskatchewan is committed to holding the opioid industry accountable for acts of alleged wrongdoing committed in the manufacture and distribution of opioid products."
The agreement will see $150 million come to the various levels of government to address opioid addictions. The agreement itself is still subject to approval by the courts.
If the settlement is approved, it will be the largest governmental health claim settlement in Canada, and the first time Purdue Pharma has agreed to settle with a non-U.S. government.
Purdue Pharma produces a number of opioid pain medications, including OxyContin. In the United States, the company reached an $8.3 billion settlement in 2020, admitting they had knowingly and intentionally conspired and agreed with others to aid and abet doctors dispensing medication without a legitimate medical purpose.
Purdue Pharma Canada is one of 40 opioid manufacturers and distributors named in a class-action lawsuit involving the federal, provincial and territorial governments. As part of the settlement, Purdue Pharma Canada agrees to cooperate in the prosecution of the other parties.