The state of Florida has announced it is suing Walgreens and CVS, blaming them for the local and national opioid crisis. They say the two retailers, who also happen to be the most significant two pharmacy chains in the US, helped create the crisis by “overselling painkillers” and not taking actions that would help stop the increasing illegal sales once the opioids left the pharmacy. In essence, they are being accused by the government of turning a blind eye to the opioid crisis.
The lawsuit isn’t a new lawsuit, but rather an amended lawsuit filed by Attorney General Pam Bondi. The lawsuit also points fingers to Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, and several opioid distributors. All of these entities, she says, profited as they willfully turned blind eyes to the addiction epidemic.
In Bondi’s press release, she alleges that CVS and Walgreens “played a role in creating the opioid crisis.” By failing to halt “suspicious orders of opioids,” the two stores then “dispensed unreasonable quantities of opioids from their pharmacies.” They didn’t pay attention to the uptick in prescriptions or unreasonable large amounts of pills prescribed to individuals. Ultimately, the state says, those pills ended up on the street in the hands of vulnerable people who became addicted to the drugs.
The state’s hard stance is most likely to get money from the companies they blame, as funding for people trying to get clean is scarce, and many states like Florida have limited resources.
“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.”
CVS spokesman Mike DeAngelis called the lawsuit “without merit.” “Over the past several years, CVS has taken numerous actions to strengthen our existing safeguards to help address the nation’s opioid epidemic,” DeAngelis said.
Phony patients have long been a problem with Florida, and are often part of the process of powerful narcotic painkillers being sold on the street. Patients are usually issued the drugs by a doctor, usually in a “pill mill” that does little else than prescribe painkillers. The fake patient will then sell them to a street drug dealer. Florida cracked down on “pill mills” years ago, and now has a rapid-response task force that can investigate such place. Now they are eying the actions of largest pharmaceutical companies as well.