On May 27, 2023, a claims filing process becomes open to Canadians to apply for compensation for injuries suffered from addictions to OxyContin and OxyNEO.
The claims process gives Canadian opioid victims the chance to receive funds from a $20 million Settlement to resolve longstanding Oxycontin class action litigation across Canada. The news has been highly anticipated by class members, as it’s been more than 5 years since the Settlement was first brought before the courts and 15 years since the class actions were first filed.
The Settlement will compensate eligible class members for various injuries suffered as a result of opioid addictions developed from certain Oxy drugs. Anyone who was prescribed and ingested OxyContin® and/or OxyNEO® in Canada between January 1, 1996, and February 28, 2017 is eligible to claim under the settlement, as are Estates of Oxy users who have since passed away.
Background on the Canadian OxyContin Settlement
Beginning in 2007, a series of class actions were brought on behalf Canadians who were prescribed and ingested OxyContin or OxyNEO, seeking compensation from Purdue Pharma and related entities for addiction-related injuries caused by those opioids. After nearly a decade of litigation, four Class Counsel firms, including Siskinds LLP, combined efforts to negotiate a settlement with the Defendants to resolve all the actions. In 2017, Class Counsel sought approval of the Settlement in various provincial courts, and the Settlement was approved everywhere except Saskatchewan. At the Saskatchewan hearing, the Court initially declined to approve the settlement but permitted the Parties to reapply with more evidence.
Following that decision, a series of unanticipated developments occurred. The first judge in Saskatchewan retired, and then the judge appointed to hear the second settlement hearing was elevated to the Court of Appeal without making a final decision on settlement approval. After that, the Provincial Health Insurers – the government entities in each province responsible for public health benefits (e.g., OHIP) – raised a question regarding their consent to the Settlement, which led the court to hold a hearing to provide clarity on the law (For more info, read my prior blog: Class Counsel can continue to represent Class Members where a conflict of interest arises with Provincial health insurers).
Following the hearing on the PHI question, the global pandemic hit, temporarily closing the courts, and Purdue filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US, which led to a “Stay of Proceedings” in Canada that paused all court actions against the company. Siskinds and the Class Counsel firms worked diligently for the better part of two years trying to have the Canadian Class Action litigation resumed. A new hearing for settlement approval in Saskatchewan finally took place in 2022 and the Saskatchewan Court of King’s Bench ultimately approved the Settlement.
Canadians who were addicted to prescription Oxy are eligible to make claims
To be eligible to claim under the settlement, Canadians will need to prove (through medical and pharmaceutical records) that they used OxyContin or OxyNEO, under a valid prescription, during the relevant period of time (between January 1, 1996, and February 28, 2017) and that they subsequently were diagnosed with an opioid addiction. The types of injuries that may qualify for compensation include overdoses and various life complications arising from dependency (incl. job loss, homelessness, etc.). Estates of former Canadian Oxy users are also eligible to make claims, as are children and spouses of claimants and certain other family members.
To get more information on eligibility criteria and how to file a claim, visit the Canadian OxyContin Class Actions website at: www.oxycontinclassactionsettlement.ca or by contacting the claims administrator at 1-888-663-7185 or [email protected]