Florida is suing the two largest drugstore chains in the United States – Walgreens and CVS – alleging they added to the state and national opioid crisis by overselling painkillers and not taking precautions to stop illegal sales, reports Associated Press.
The state attorney general, Pam Bondi, announced in mid-November that she had added the companies to a state-court lawsuit filed last spring against Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, and several opioid distributors.
Bondi said in a press release that CVS and Walgreens “played a role in creating the opioid crisis”. She said the companies failed to stop “suspicious orders of opioids” and “dispensed unreasonable quantities of opioids from their pharmacies”.
On average, about 45 people die nationally each day because of opioid overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Associated Pressreports.
“We will continue to pursue those companies that played a role in creating the opioid crisis,” said Bondi, who has been mentioned as a possible replacement by President Donald Trump for the recently ousted US attorney general, Jeff Sessions. “Thousands of Floridians have suffered as a result of the actions of the defendants.”
A CVS spokesman, Mike DeAngelis, called the lawsuit “without merit” in a statement. He said the company trains its pharmacists and their assistants about their responsibilities when dispensing controlled substances and gives them tools to detect potentially illegal sales.
Walgreens said it does not comment on pending lawsuits, according to Associated Press.
Until a law enforcement crackdown at the beginning of the decade, Florida was known for its so-called pain mills. Drug dealers from throughout the country would send associates to store-front clinics where unscrupulous doctors would write opioid prescriptions for bogus injuries and illnesses. At one point, 90 of the nation’s top 100 opioid prescribers were Florida doctors, according to federal officials.Full report on The Guardian site