The Attorney General of Kentucky announced Thursday that the state was filing suit against the Walgreens pharmacy chain for the alleged exacerbating of the opioid crisis, the suit calls “man-made,” through playing a dual role in the drug supply chain as both a distributor as well as dispenser.
The lawsuit asserts as well that Walgreens willfully ignored safeguard systems of its own that were in place to protect the consumer and to monitor the drug consumption.
The lawsuit claims that Walgreens Boots Alliance, the parent company, fulfilled orders for large quantities of the prescription narcotic medication for pain relief that there could not be any association medical purpose that was legitimate for their use.
Kentucky’s AG Andy Beshear accused Walgreens, which has 70 retail locations in the state, of ignoring the deadly health crisis that deceptive business practices it uses helped to create, while profiting immensely.
The region is devastated due to an influx of drugs Beshear says have helped to contribute to loss of jobs as well as productivity and most importantly life.
Walgreens, the second biggest pharmacy company in the U.S., declined comment citing the pending litigation.
In each of the last four years, over one thousand residents of Kentucky have died due to drug overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Nationally, the federal agency said that approximately 66% of the over 63,500 deaths due to drug overdose during 2016 involved opioids. On average each day 115 people in the U.S. die from opioid overdoses.
Pharmacies that are licensed in Kentucky have equipment to monitor real-time data that tracks pill dosages, types and exact number of pills, customer orders and they must report any suspicious Schedule II drug orders, including opioids to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
In addition, there are obligated to red flag any unusual orders such as those in which the buyer travels long distance to have a prescription filled or doctors that are prescribing outside their usual practice.
This lawsuit alleges Walgreens failed to adequately take the proper and required actions mandated by the state.
Kentucky is seeking to halt Walgreens from the over-prescribing of opioids or the filling of orders that are suspect placed by its many pharmacies.
It demands as well to hold Walgreens financially accountable for a myriad of state services associated with abuse of prescription drugs.