Tennessee sues Walgreens pharmacy chain over opioid distribution
Register now for Free of charge unlimited accessibility to Reuters.com
Aug 3 (Reuters) – The point out of Tennessee sued Walgreens on Wednesday, accusing the retail pharmacy giant of fueling the state’s opioid epidemic by willfully flooding the current market with an oversupply of prescription narcotics in violation of buyer safety and public nuisance laws.
In accordance to the lawsuit, Walgreens applied its situation as a single of the state’s premier pharmacy chains to dispense more than 1.1 billion oxycodone and hydrocodone tablets within Tennessee from 2006 to 2020, about equivalent to 175 tablets for each and every resident of the point out.
“The sheer quantity of opioids that Walgreens released into Tennessee was unreasonable and highly suspicious on its confront,” mentioned the 148-web page lawsuit, filed in Knox County Circuit Court. “Walgreens utterly saturated the state of Tennessee with narcotics.”
Sign-up now for No cost unlimited obtain to Reuters.com
Tennessee, property to approximately 7 million inhabitants, has been a person of the most difficult-hit in the U.S. opioid disaster, documenting at minimum 3 opioid-similar overdose fatalities each and every working day, according to the lawsuit.
“Walgreens did not flood the condition of Tennessee with opioids by accident. Rather, the fuel that Walgreens added to the hearth of the opioid epidemic was the outcome of being aware of – or willfully ignorant – corporate decisions,” it stated.
Walgreens has been the goal of equivalent lawsuits brought by other jurisdictions.
In May possibly, its corporate dad or mum, the Illinois-centered holding firm Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (WBA.O), attained a $683 million settlement with Florida to take care of claims that the pharmacy chain exacerbated an opioid epidemic in that condition. But Walgreens did not acknowledge to wrongdoing under the settlement. examine more
“We will keep on to defend in opposition to the unjustified attacks on the professionalism of our pharmacists, dedicated wellness experts who live in the communities they serve,” the organization explained in a statement emailed to Reuters on Wednesday.
“Walgreens never created or marketed opioids, nor did we distribute them to the discomfort clinics and “pill mills” that fueled this crisis,” the firm mentioned.
According to the lawsuit, Walgreens proficiently turned part of an “illegal controlled compound advertising scheme” by disregarding various symptoms of suspicious opioid prescription tactics.
The match cited such “crimson flags” as a absence of individualized dosing various prescriptions for the strongest dose offered quite a few consumers with the exact diagnosis codes substantial percentages of people shelling out in dollars prospects usually in search of early refills and shoppers traveling long distances to fill prescriptions.
Tennessee’s best soar in opioid dispensing, according to the lawsuit, coincided with the several years 2006 to 2014 when Walgreens operated as a wholesale distributor for its have pharmacies, therefore occupying two rungs of the source chain.
Running some 200 to 300 retailers statewide, Walgreens pharmacies collectively purchased 795 million opioids from distributors all through that period of time, the match claimed. Some have been sourced from other wholesalers, but Walgreens “self-dispersed” 81% of its have retail opioid supplies in that period, according to the criticism.
A identical lawsuit introduced in opposition to Walgreens and two pharmaceutical firms by the city of San Francisco is now beneath thought by a federal judge pursuing an 11-7 days demo throughout which the two other corporations arrived at a $58 million settlement with the city last thirty day period. read through extra
Individually, a federal court docket jury determined in November that Walgreens, together with fellow pharmacy chain CVS Health and fitness Corp (CVS.N) and discount retail giant Walmart Inc (WMT.N), was liable for aiding produce a public nuisance with an alleged flood of suffering capsules that wound up on the black industry in two Ohio counties.
It is now up to a federal decide to make your mind up what the providers ought to fork out. browse far more
Sign-up now for Totally free endless obtain to Reuters.com
Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles Supplemental reporting by Dietrich Knauth Editing by Kim Coghill
Our Expectations: The Thomson Reuters Rely on Principles.