Justice and Public Safety
September 26, 2019

The following statement was issued today by the Honourable Andrew Parsons, Minister of Justice and Public Safety and Attorney General:

Newfoundland and Labrador Supports National Class Action Against Opioid Manufacturers and Wholesalers

As a government, we have been monitoring with considerable interest the various recent developments in the U.S. litigation concerning the manufacture, sale and distribution of opioids. This includes the recently reported “tentative agreement” that would propose to resolve the claims against Purdue entities and Sackler family members, and a statement by Purdue Pharma’s head of corporate affairs and communications that “the Sacklers have offered $3 billion in cash as part of the global resolution”.

While the province is encouraged by a stated desire to resolve global claims, the opioid crisis is unfortunately not limited to the U.S., and continues to have a devastating impact in Canada, with a correspondingly extraordinary toll on our health care system to the ultimate detriment of Canadian taxpayers.

To the extent that there is a real desire on the part of Purdue entities and members of the Sackler families to achieve “global resolution”, then any proposed agreement ought to account for and include payment for the Canadian claims, which are presently advanced in a structured and consolidated manner in a national class action commenced in British Columbia.

British Columbia's lawsuit, of which Newfoundland and Labrador is part, aims to recover government health care and other direct costs incurred due to opioid-related disease, injury or illness. However, to date there has been no effort on the part of Purdue entities and the Sacklers to involve Canadian jurisdictions in the discussions that have led to the rumored settlement in the U.S.

Our government remains ready and willing to participate in the reported effort to achieve global resolution of the claims against Purdue entities and the Sacklers. If, however, we are not included in this process, we are determined to continue to pursue our claims against the Purdue entities and also against the members of the Sackler family to the fullest extent permitted by law.

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Media contact
Danielle Barron
Justice and Public Safety
709-729-5188, 691-2944

2019 09 26                              10:40 a.m.