P.E.I. moves to strengthen legal position against opioid companies

·1 min read

A bill defining P.E.I.'s claims for health care and social services costs against certain producers of opioids passed first reading in the legislature Thursday evening.

The bill is similar to legislation already in place for tobacco-related damages from the cigarette companies.

"It's fairly broad. It would include the benefits under the Social Assistance Act as well as the health care benefits." Blair Barbour, legislative specialist at the Department of Justice and Public Safety, told MLAs.

"The legislation is being brought forward to facilitate the government's efforts to recover the cost of health care services and social services related to the opioid crisis. So, for instance, the cost emergency services in response to overdose events, the cost of hospital treatment and various other health costs related to addictions."

Government of P.E.I.
Government of P.E.I.

Most provinces already have similar legislation. This bill was based on the Alberta model, Barbour said.

P.E.I. is already part of a class-action lawsuit underway in British Columbia. The province's legal advisors say its claims will be taken more seriously in other jurisdictions, including in the U.S., if the legislation is in place.

Barbour said there is no estimate yet of what the value of the claims might be.

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