Florida Sues Walgreens, CVS for Opioid Sales

By William Vogeler, Esq. on November 20, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Florida has had more than its share of misfortune, and then the opioid crisis happened.

Earlier this decade, Florida became known for its "pain mills." Federal officials said 90 percent of the nation's biggest opioid prescribers were Florida doctors.

Now Florida is suing Walgreens and CVS for its opioid problem, saying they oversold painkillers. Looks like a clean-up on aisles one and two.

"Illegal Sales"

State Attorney General Pam Bondi said she added the companies to a lawsuit filed last spring against Purdue Pharma and other opioid distributors. Bondi says CVS and Walgreens, two of the largest drugstore chains in the country, did not take precautions to stop illegal sales.

"We will continue to pursue those companies that played a role in creating the opioid crisis," Bondi said in a press release. "Thousands of Floridians have suffered as a result of the actions of the defendants."

CVS spokesman Mike DeAngelis said the lawsuit was "without merit." The company trains pharmacists and assistants to detect and avoid potentially illegal sales, he said.

"Over the past several years, CVS has taken numerous actions to strengthen our existing safeguards to help address the nation's opioid epidemic," DeAnglelis said.

Refuse to Fill

Florida law mandates that pharmacists refuse to fill prescriptions that they suspect are not valid. According to the lawsuit, however, Walgreens distributed 2.2 million opioid tablets from one Florida store that served a town of 12,000.

In one month, the complaint alleges, another pharmacy sold 285,000 pills in a town of 3,000. According to reports, the company paid $80 million to settle a federal claim that its opioid sales led to the black market.

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