Ontario to join proposed lawsuit against opioid manufacturers

Ontario will join British Columbia’s proposed class action lawsuit against dozen of opioid manufacturers.

The provincial government is expected to make the announcement on Monday.

A spokesperson for Health Minister Christine Elliott says officials will release more details after the Progressive Conservative government introduces legislation.

The proposed lawsuit was filed by B.C. last year in an effort to recoup the health-care costs associated with opioid addictions.

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.

Attorney General Caroline Mulroney and Elliott’s parliamentary assistant are expected to give more details when the legislation is announced.

So far in 2019 in Hamilton, Paramedic Services has responded to 332 incidents related to suspected opioid overdoses. In 2017, Hamilton’s opioid-related death rate was 72 per cent higher than Ontario’s average, with 88 residents dying from opioid overdose. Opioid-related deaths are increasing annually in the city.