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Kentucky AG sues Walgreens for 'fueling' opioid epidemic

By Susan McFarland
Kentucky AG sues Walgreens for 'fueling' opioid epidemic
The state of Kentucky sued Walgreens Thursday, saying the pharmacy chain has contributed to the opioid crisis and failed to report suspicious shipments of drugs. File Photo by Billie Jean Shaw/UPI

June 14 (UPI) -- Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear filed a lawsuit Thursday against pharmacy chain Walgreens, saying its dual role as distributor and pharmacy has contributed to the state's opioid crisis.

Beshear said Walgreens failed to monitor shipments of narcotics to 70 locations around Kentucky and flooded communities with the potentially dangerous prescription drugs.

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The lawsuit, filed in Boone County Circuit Court, said Walgreens used unfair, misleading and deceptive business practices while excessively distributing and dispensing opioids. It says the chain also failed to report "suspiciously" large opioid orders, as required, to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

"My job is to hold accountable anyone who harms our families," Beshear said in a statement. "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 chain also is required to monitor and flag suspicious prescriptions -- like those from customers who travel long distances to fill them, or doctors who prescribe outside their practice scope.

"While the pain of addiction and loss of a loved one may never heal, I want to make sure these billion dollar companies take responsibility and become a part of the solution," Beshear said.

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Walgreens, which announced $33 billion in sales during the second quarter of this year, declined to comment about the suit.

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