An opioid class action lawsuit has been filed against more than two dozen pharmaceutical companies, seeking to hold them accountable for what it calls a “serious opioid crisis” facing Quebec and the rest of Canada.
The pharmaceutical defendants manufacture, market and/or distribute opioid drugs in Quebec, Canada.
These opioid drugs include fentanyl, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, methadone, morphine, oxycodone and oxymorphone, according to the Canada opioid class action lawsuit.
Opioids work by attaching to receptors in the brain, blocking the patient’s feeling of pain, the opioid class action lawsuit says. The drugs also slow down the patient’s breathing and have a calming effect.
Although opioids are effective at treating pain, the opioid class action lawsuit says that “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.”
According to the plaintiff, listed only as “EV” in the court documents, opioids had primarily been used for short-term treatment of acute pain and to treat palliative care patients. Initially, opioids were believed to be too addictive to use for long-term pain treatment, the Canadian opioid class action lawsuit states.
EV says she visited her doctor around nine years ago for treatment of chronic pain caused by polymyalgia-rheumatica, fibromyalgia and osteo-arthritis. According to the opioid class action lawsuit, she was prescribed an opioid medication to treat her pain.
The plaintiff alleges she was told by her doctor that there was “no reason to hold back” on prescribing opioids and that they had been advised to “feel free to prescribe opioids more liberally.”
EV says she interpreted these statements as being an official recommendation by the Canadian Medical Association or another reputable medical group.
The plaintiff claims that she was not informed about any risks associated with opioid use and took the drugs as prescribed.
Because she developed an increasing tolerance to the drugs, she was prescribed higher and higher doses to treat her pain. At one point, she says her daily dosage was equivalent to 150mg of morphine. The recommended maximum daily dose of morphine is reportedly only 90mg. According to the opioid class action lawsuit, she was addicted to opioids for about seven years.
EV’s opioid addiction reportedly impacted her quality of life, her relationships and her decision-making. She says she made bad financial decisions while addicted to opioids which led her to seek bankruptcy protection and seek a legal settlement with her creditors.
The plaintiff seeks to represent a Class of persons in Quebec who have been prescribed opioid medications manufactured, marketed, distributed or sold by any of the defendants since 1996, and who have suffered from Opioid Use Disorder.
The opioid class action lawsuit notes that the putative Class also includes direct heirs of deceased persons who would otherwise qualify as Class Members.
EV seeks compensatory damages of $30,000 per Class Member and punitive damages of $25 million from each defendant.
The plaintiff has also asked the court to grant damages for each individual Class Member’s personal losses, which would be recovered on an individual basis.
This Quebec opioid addiction lawsuit is similar to another opioid crisis class action lawsuit that was filed recently in Ontario.
Have you been prescribed opioids? Share your story with us in the comments below.
EV is represented by Fishman Flanz Meland Paquin and Trudel Johnston & Lespérance.
The Canadian Opioid Crisis Class Action Lawsuit is EV v. Abbott Laboratories, et al., Case No. 500-06-0010040197, in the Superior Court for the Province of Quebec, District of Montreal, Canada.
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