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Opioid Lawsuits Are Bankrupting Rite-Aid

While there have been many stories about rampant crime in major cities, the fact is that these same cities also have a lot of opioid addiction. In recent years, states, counties, and cities have been suing distributors of opioids like Oxycontin. While many companies, such as the drug maker Purdue Pharma, have settled, some distributors and pharmacies have had issues. Rite-Aid is one of these pharmacies that chose not to participate in a bulk settlement. Because of this, they face more than a thousand lawsuits for their sales of Oxycontin and other addictive pain pills.

Rite-Aid in Danger of Closing

Rite-Aid is one of the largest chains of pharmacies in the United States, but they now face billions of dollars in death and risk closure due to outstanding opioid lawsuits. Not settling, as other pharmacies have done, including Walgreens, has cost a lot of money. Now, they are declaring bankruptcy to avoid paying out lawsuits.

There are over 2,100 stores in the US, and they are in danger of closing, putting small rural communities at risk of having no healthcare.

What Do the Lawsuits Allege About Rite-Aid?

Like many pharmacy chains, Rite-Aid sold massive amounts of painkillers with allegedly little oversight. This means that they ignored red flags and did not pay attention to what may have been fraudulent prescriptions.

In a filing from the Justice Department earlier this year, the DOJ explained the charges. “We allege that Rite Aid filled hundreds of thousands of prescriptions that did not meet legal requirements,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta. “According to our complaint, Rite Aid’s pharmacists repeatedly filled prescriptions for controlled substances with obvious red flags, and Rite Aid intentionally deleted internal notes about suspicious prescribers. These practices opened the floodgates for millions of opioid pills and other controlled substances to flow illegally out of Rite Aid’s stores.”

Rite Aid, one of the dozens of stores accused of putting profit over patient safety, did not settle any lawsuits and remained staunch in their defense that they did nothing wrong.

However, the company doesn’t have any cash flow left to fight the lawsuits. If allowed bankruptcy, it’s unclear if any lawsuit will be able to collect money.

What Comes Next?

Rite Aid will either go out of business or restructure to avoid this lawsuit. The facts remain that they sold highly addictive drugs like Oxycontin to millions of customers, some of whom got doses that were so high they could kill a person. No one noticed the “red flags” meant to stop prescriptions like Oxy, which are highly addictive, from being distributed.

Other pharmacies, manufacturers, and distributors are currently paying billions of dollars in compensation. Rite Aid hasn’t managed to work with the prosecutors or cooperate with lawyers, so there’s very little chance that they will make it through all these proceedings unscathed. Right now, they face over a thousand lawsuits, which is a mountain of work for any legal time and incredibly costly.

What’s Happening with the Opioid Lawsuit Settlement Money?

Many states have allocated a significant portion of the opioid lawsuit settlement funds to expand and improve addiction treatment and recovery services. This included funding for medication-assisted treatment, counseling, and support programs for individuals struggling with opioid addiction.

Some states have allocated a portion of the funds to support law enforcement efforts to combat illegal opioid distribution and to enhance public safety in areas affected by the opioid crisis.

In some cases, states have sought to provide financial compensation to communities that have been particularly hard-hit by the opioid crisis. Money, in these cases, is often used to improve healthcare infrastructure, such as expanding the number of addiction treatment facilities and increasing access for those affected by opioid addiction.