Kentucky attorney general sues Walgreens for 'dual role' in opioid epidemic

BOONE COUNTY, Ky. -- Kentucky’s attorney general sued Walgreens Thursday, alleging the company allowed prescription pills to flood the state, which contributed to the state’s drug scourge. 

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear’s suit alleges Walgreens failed to legally monitor its operations, which resulted in the distribution of a large quantity of opioids throughout Kentucky.

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Beshear said Walgreens, as a distributor and a pharmacy, knew or should have known about the state’s high rate of suspicious opioid shipments and the risk of abuse of prescription opioids. 

The suit is the sixth opioid-related lawsuit Beshear has filed. He said he filed it in Boone County because a large number of overdoses occur in Northern Kentucky. 

“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 in a news release.

The filing makes Kentucky the second state to sue Walgreens. Delaware has also filed suit. 

Beshear’s first suit, filed against Endo Pharmaceuticals in November 2017, alleges the manufacturer’s drug, Opana ER, directly contributed to overdose deaths.

Beshear has sued three major opioid distributors this year: AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson Corporation. The three distributors are responsible for supplying 85 percent of Kentucky’s opioids, Beshear said.

Beshear vowed more lawsuits would come against opioid manufacturers at a task force meeting in Erlanger earlier this week.

“We are going to continue filing these lawsuits … we’re doing it because it’s the right thing to do,” Beshear said.

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