OxyContin pills at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

Lawyer for opioid maker says U.S. lawsuit won’t affect B.C. suit

Johnson & Johnson lawyer says Oklahoma ruling has no binding impact

A lawyer for Johnson & Johnson says a civil judgment from an Oklahoma court that ruled the companies helped fuel the state’s opioid crisis has no binding impact on other courts.

B.C. Attorney General David Eby has said while the legal action in the province is against dozens of manufacturers and others, the cases are based on similar facts. He and other legal experts have said the court ruling is a positive sign for litigation in Canada.

Sabrina Strong, outside counsel for Johnson & Johnson and its pharmaceutical subsidiary Janssen, says the court’s decision will not impact how the company approaches legal actions elsewhere, given the different jurisdictions, laws, defendants and claims in those cases.

The B.C. government filed a proposed class-action lawsuit a year ago alleging drug manufactures falsely marketed opioids as less addictive than other pain drugs, helping to trigger an overdose crisis that has killed thousands since OxyContin was introduced to the Canadian market in 1996.

Ontario and New Brunswick have announced they will participate in B.C.’s lawsuit, and Eby says Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Quebec are participating in a national working group on the case.

None of the allegations in the lawsuit has been tested in court.

Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin and another defendant in B.C.’s lawsuit, has said that it followed all of Health Canada’s regulations, including those governing marketing, and it’s very concerned about the opioid crisis in B.C. and across Canada.

Johnson & Johnson is appealing the Oklahoma court decision, which ordered the company to pay US$572 million, and says it is confident it has strong ground for its appeal. Attorneys for the company have maintained that they were part of a lawful and heavily regulated industry subject to strict federal oversight.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Plans released for new outdoor pool in Enderby

City shares plans for pool’s location, cost estimates, design features and more

Vernon ‘schools are healthy’: IH medical health officer

Children have a low risk of catching and spreading COVID-19

North Okanagan-Shuswap MP: Throne speech shows failures in COVID-19 response

Mel Arnold critical of Trudeau government’s throne speech Wednesday

2020 overdose death toll rises to 73 in the Okanagan

Just under half of the deaths occurred in Kelowna

COVID-19 picture ‘much clearer,’ says Interior Health president

As fall routines set in, IH CEO Susan Brown reminds public to be vigilant in preventative practices

BC Liberal Leader talks drug addiction in the Lower Mainland

Drug addiction and public safety a top priority says Andrew Wilkinson

Kamloops Mounties happened upon alleged gang-related robbery, kidnapping

Michael Mathieson is charged with armed robbery, unlawful confinement and kidnapping

Pandemic derails CP Holiday Train

Canadian Pacific will work to get donations to food banks while also producing an online music concert

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Interior Health reports five new COVID-19 cases

Across the region, 34 cases are active

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Penticton quadruple murder trial begins in Kelowna next month

John Brittain, 69, is facing three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder

Historic BC Tree Fruits head office in Okanagan for sale

The company’s CEO said the decision was necessary due to a fickle fruit market

Most Read