Florida is suing Walgreens and CVS for allegedly overselling painkillers and contributing to the nation’s opioid crisis. According to CNBC, Florida is suing the two largest drugstore chains in the U.S. for allegedly adding fuel to the fire that is the nation’s opioid crisis by overselling painkillers and failing to take precautions to stop illegal sales of opioids.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi added the two companies to a state-court lawsuit that had been filed in spring 2017 against Purdue Pharma, the pharmaceutical company and manufacturer of the drug OxyContin, and other opioid distributors.
Bondi says that CVS and Walgreens played a role in the opioid crisis by failing to stop suspicious orders of opioid prescriptions and dispensing quantities of opioids from their pharmacies that were unreasonable.
“We will continue to pursue those companies that played a role in creating the opioid crisis,” said Bondi. “Thousands of Floridians have suffered as a result of the actions of the defendants.”
This wouldn’t be the first time pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies were brought to court by a state for an alleged role in the nation’s opioid crisis. Recently, New Jersey filed a lawsuit against Johnson and Johnson. Just this past August, New York filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma.
It isn’t only pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies who have been accused of helping cause the opioid epidemic. Lawsuits have also been filed against doctors for wrongful death and medical malpractice, two of the five most common types of personal injury cases, related to opioid medications.
But do the accusations hold any merit? CVS spokesperson Mike DeAngelis says they don’t.
“Over the past several years, CVS has taken numerous actions to strengthen our existing safeguards and to help address the nation’s opioid epidemic,” DeAngelis said.
DeAngelis says CVS trains its pharmacists and their assistants on responsibly dispensing controlled substances, and that the pharmacy provides its employees with the tools to detect potentially illegal sales.
Walgreens says the drugstore chain doesn’t comment on pending lawsuits.
According to the lawsuit against the pharmacies, Walgreens has dispensed billions of opioid prescriptions in Florida since 2006. In Hudson, a town in Tampa with a population of 12,000, approximately 2.2 million opioid tablets were distributed by Walgreens.
In another unidentified town with a population of 3,000, Walgreens distributed 285,000 opioid prescriptions per month. In some Walgreens stores, the lawsuit states, opioid sales increased six-times over the course of two years.
According to CNBC, Bondi has accused CVS of selling 700 million opioids between 2006 and 2014 in Florida towns such as Hudson and other nearby towns.