Opioid Use Disorder
In 2019, an application for authorization of a class action against several pharmaceutical entities who manufactured, marketed, distributed and/or sold prescription opioids to Quebec residents between 1996 and the present day was filed in the Superior Court of Quebec. This class action seeks to compensate every resident of Quebec who suffers, or has suffered from, opioid use disorder following the use of prescription opioid products (the “Class Members”).
Three new settlement agreements have been reached with certain defendants. These settlement agreements will be presented to the Court at a hearing at the Montreal Courthouse on May 8, 2023 at 9:30 a.m. in room 16.12.
The following is a summary of those three settlement agreements:
1) a settlement agreement with Aralez Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. that provides for a full and final release of all claims against it in exchange for payment of CAD $145,000 (the “Aralez Settlement”);
2) a settlement agreement with Valeant Canada Limited, Valeant Canada LP and 4490142 Canada Inc., F.K.A. as Meda Valeant Pharma Canada Inc. (together “Valeant”) that provides for a full and final release of all claims against them in exchange for payment of CAD $350,000 (the “Valeant Settlement”); and
3) a settlement agreement with Church & Dwight Canada Corp. that provides for a full and final release of all claims against it in exchange for payment of CAD $145,000 (the “Church & Dwight Settlement”).
Please see the Notice to Members for more information.
The class action seeks to compensate every person who suffers or has suffered from opioid use disorder following the use of prescription opioids.
Opioids are a class of drugs which resemble naturally occurring opiates that are prescribed to treat pain. However, these drugs are dangerously addictive, and the growing number of addictions, overdoses and deaths in Quebec and Canada caused by opioids has been declared by the Government of Canada to be a public health emergency.
Are you a class member?
The class is defined as follows in the motion seeking authorization:
All persons in Quebec who have been prescribed and consumed any one or more of the opioids manufactured, marketed, distributed and/or sold by the Defendants between 1996 and the present day (“Class Period”) and who suffer or have suffered from Opioid Use Disorder, according to the diagnostic criteria herein described.
The Class includes the direct heirs of any deceased persons who met the above-mentioned description.
The Class excludes any person’s claim, or any portion thereof, subject to the settlement agreement entered into in the court file no. 200-06-000080-070, provided that such settlement agreement becomes effective as a result of the issuance of the requisite court approvals.
If you are a member of this class action and wish to receive information about its progress, you can sign up to our mailing list by filling out the form at the bottom of the page.
History of the case
On May 23, 2019, a motion for authorization to institute a class action against the manufacturers, marketers or distributors of opioid drugs was filed.
This application was amended on October 25, 2019, to replace the plaintiff EV with Mr. Camarda, remove certain defendants, add other defendants and amend the class definition.
On November 24, 2021, the Honourable Justice Morrisson heard a joint application for communication of documents filed by the defendants in order to obtain the representative’s entire medical record (then Mr Camarda). A judgment was rendered on February 16, 2021, dismissing the defendants’ application.
On September 7, 2021, Justice Morrisson partially granted some defendants’ request to examine the representative (then Mr Camarda). He allowed a limited examination of a total duration of 1,5 hours and limited to the issue of when and how Mr Camarda was made aware of risks associated with any opioid products.
On December 17, 2021, Jean-François Bourassa filed a Re-Amended Application dated December 17, 2021, for Authorization to Institute a Class Action, and to Obtain the Status of Representative and a de bene esse Motion for Authorization to Amend Plaintiff’s Re-Amended Application for Authorization to Institute a Class Action for the sole purpose of being substituted as proposed class representative. On January 17, 2022, the Court granted the Motion to Amend thereby making Mr Bourassa the plaintiff.
On May 20, 2022, Justice Morrison granted leave to certain defendants to examine representative Bourassa before the authorization of the class action hearing, he still concluded that the defendants would not be granted access to more documents to contest it. You can read the judgment in this regard at the bottom of the page.
In his May 26, 2022 judgment, Justice Morrison granted defendants leave to produce certain documents which he considered relevant to the upcoming authorization hearing. However, he denied production of other documents which were superfluous or which constituted a defence on the merits.
On August 9, 2022, Justice Morrison of the Superior Court of Quebec issued an order authorizing the Opioid Class Action (the “Order”) for the settlement purposes and approving the following four (4) settlement agreements entered into with several Defendants (the “Settling Defendants”):
1) an agreement with Roxane Laboratories Inc. and Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd. that provides for a full and final release of all claims against them, as well as against Hikma Labs Inc., in exchange for the payment of CAD $125,000 (the “R&B Settlement”),
2) an agreement with BGP Pharma ULC and Mylan Pharmaceuticals ULC that provides for the full and final release from all claims against them in exchange for the payment of USD $199,000 (the “B&M Settlement”);
3) an agreement with Merck Frosst Canada & Co. (“MFC”) that provides for the full and final release from all claims against it in exchange for the payment of CAD $145,000 (the “MFC Settlement”); and
4) an agreement with Sanis Health Inc. (“Sanis”) that provides for the full and final release from all claims against it in exchange for the payment of CAD $180,000 (the “Sanis Settlement”)
(collectively, the “Settlement Agreements”).
IMPORTANT: The Settlement Agreements allow the Plaintiff to continue the Opioid Class Action against the remaining Defendants, excluding the Settling Defendants and Hikma Labs Inc.
Plaintiff and Class Counsel believe that the Settlement Agreements are in the best interests of the Class Members given the Settling Defendants’ minimal sales of prescription opioid products in Quebec and given the continuation of the Opioid Class Action against the remaining Defendants.