The testimony of the city of Grande Prairie will be heard in US bankruptcy court next week. Guardian Law has filed an objection to Purdue Pharma’s bankruptcy plan on behalf of the city, which will represent all Canadian cities and municipalities.
Mathew Farrell, a lawyer for the Calgary-based firm, explains that the multibillion-dollar bankruptcy proposal does not include compensation for Canadians. He hopes the judge will agree that the municipalities north of the border deserve their fair share.
“Disinformation is like pollution; it does not respect borders. It spreads and affects everyone who hears it, so just as the smoke from the forest fires in Oregon affects Calgarians, this misinformation affects all of these cities in Canada as well. “
The misinformation Farrell refers to is what led the maker of OxyContin to file for bankruptcy in 2019. The move was made to protect the company and its owners from thousands of lawsuits related to the opioid crisis and allegations. of deceptive marketing.
“The allegation against Purdue is that they are spreading misinformation about the safety and effectiveness of opioids, which has increased the propensity of doctors to prescribe them,” says Farrell. “But the things they said about opioids are not addictive and suitable for a wider variety of illnesses were not true.”
The bankruptcy plan is valued by Purdue at over $ 10 billion, although the final amount is constantly changing. Farrell says that in the best-case scenario a tenth of that amount, or $ 1 billion, would cross the border.
“Municipalities and other levels of government have been left to try to help people, and of course we will always help people, but the person paying the cost should be the person who caused the problem. “
Purdue Pharma’s confirmation hearing is scheduled for August 9, when all final objections will be heard.
Guardian Law is the firm that also represents the City of Grande Prairie in a $ 10 billion class action lawsuit against more than 40 pharmaceutical companies. Purdue is not part of the lawsuit due to its bankruptcy filing.
Farrell explains that a class action lawsuit can take some time, noting that there have been jurisdictional challenges so far. However, a petition for certification is expected to be filed this quarter.
“Approve him that Grande Prairie is the representative of all Canadian cities, and this is a process that is generally very contested and so we expect there will be fireworks in this regard.” “
Grande Prairie has been at the forefront of Alberta’s opioid crisis, with fatal accidental opioid poisonings reaching historic levels in 2020. There have been a total of 33 recorded deaths, which gives the city has a rate of 46.4 per 100,000 person-years. In the first four months of the year, the city recorded the highest opioid death rate in the province at 66.9 per 100,000.