Kentucky AG sues Walgreens for 'excessively distributing' opioid - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Kentucky AG sues Walgreens for 'excessively distributing' opioids

Kentucky Attorney General announces he's suing Walgreens for a "dual role" in the state's opioid epidemic during a press conference on June 14, 2018. (Source: Kentucky Office of the Attorney General) Kentucky Attorney General announces he's suing Walgreens for a "dual role" in the state's opioid epidemic during a press conference on June 14, 2018. (Source: Kentucky Office of the Attorney General)
FRANKFORT, KY (FOX19) -

Kentucky's Attorney General is suing Walgreens for a "dual role" in the state's opioid epidemic, according to a news release.

Andy Beshear today filed the lawsuit alleging the pharmacy/distributor failed to monitor shipments of large quantities of opioids through 70 Walgreens locations in the state.

He says the company is partly responsible for flooding Kentucky communities with dangerous prescription drugs contributing to the state's opioid epidemic.

The lawsuit is filed in Boone County Circuit Court because of the large number of overdose deaths in Northern Kentucky.

"As Attorney General, my job is to hold accountable anyone who harms our families," Beshear says in the news release. "While Walgreens' slogan was 'at the corner of happy and healthy,' they have significantly harmed the health of our families in fueling the opioid epidemic."

The lawsuit accuses the pharmacy/distributor of "unfair, misleading and deceptive business practices." It claims Walgreens excessively distributed opioids in Kentucky and failed to report suspiciously large orders to federal and state officials.

The lawsuit says Walgreens' 2018 second quarter sales topped $33 billion, but the company "failed to use its unique position as a pharmacy and distributor to prevent the flood of opioids into Kentucky."

As a distributor, the company has real-time data regarding exact amounts of pills, pill types and customer orders for its store and is legally required to report suspicious orders to the DEA. The company has distribution centers close to Kentucky’s borders in Illinois and Ohio.

As a pharmacy, it is legally required to monitor and flag suspicious customer prescriptions, such as individuals traveling long distances to fill prescriptions or doctors prescribing outside the scope of their usual practice.

Beshear said Walgreens knew or should have known of Kentucky’s exceedingly high rate of suspicious opioid shipments and prescriptions and the significant correlating risk of abuse, misuse and diversion of prescription opioids.

 This is the sixth opioid-related lawsuit filed by Beshear.

He sued manufacturer Endo Pharmaceuticals in November, and this year he sued national distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson Corp. and manufacturer Johnson and Johnson.

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