Walgreens Flooded Florida With Addictive Opioids, Lawyer Tells Jury

Walgreens Flooded Florida With Addictive Opioids, Lawyer Tells Jury

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. supplied billions of opioid capsules to drug addicts and criminals, contributing to an dependancy epidemic in Florida, a attorney for the state explained on Monday in a civil demo versus the pharmacy chain.

Walgreens filled 1 in four opioid prescriptions in Florida amongst 1999 and 2020, and failed to look into purple flags that could have prevented medicine from being diverted for illegal use, the state’s lawyer Jim Webster said as jurors read opening statements in the demo held in New Port Richey.

“Walgreens was the final line of defense in preventing poor distribution of opioids,” Webster explained. “It was the entity that in fact set the opioids in the fingers of men and women addicted to opioids and the hands of criminals.”

Walgreens, which has denied the allegations, is the closing remaining defendant in the demo taking put before Choose Kimberly Sharpe Byrd in Pasco County Circuit Court docket.

Florida beforehand arrived at $878 million in settlements with CVS Wellbeing Corp., Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., Abbvie Inc’s Allergan device and Endo Global Plc.

Steven Derringer, Walgreen’s legal professional, mentioned in his opening assertion that the pharmacy chain crammed prescriptions from health professionals and did not disregard purple flags that authorized opioids to flood Florida.

“There are so a lot of supplements simply because physicians have composed so numerous prescriptions for agony drugs,” Derringer stated.

Florida has expended extra than $14 billion to handle the opioid disaster in the point out, and opioid overdoses have prompted virtually 40,000 fatalities from 1999 to 2020, Webster told jurors.

Walgreens justifies a “huge chunk of the blame” for overdose deaths and the state’s enhanced paying out, Webster mentioned.

Derringer countered that some others really should be blamed for the state’s opioid epidemic including drug suppliers who lied to pharmacies about habit hazard, U.S. Food items and Drug Administration officials who authorized the sale of opioids for chronic discomfort and health professionals who wrote avoidable prescriptions.

Florida has gathered much more than $3 billion in opioid litigation versus drugmakers, distributors and pharmacies, according to Lawyer General Ashley Moody. Most will be spent on attempts to mitigate the opioid disaster in the point out.

In March, Walgreens rival CVS Wellbeing Corp. agreed to pay Florida $484 million. Drugmakers Teva will pay $194.8 million, Allergan will shell out $134.2 million and Endo will spend $65 million.

Walgreens beforehand argued it was immune from getting sued primarily based on a mere $3,000 settlement it achieved with Florida in 2012, following an investigation into its record-retaining insurance policies and endeavours to protect against the diversion of opioid medication.

Byrd ruled in March that the 2012 settlement dealt with only a single report-holding violation and did not shield Walgreens from other statements. The organization has appealed her ruling.

While a massive part of the more than 500,000 U.S. deaths from overdoses in the past two many years had been brought on by the impressive opioid fentanyl and other illicit drugs, overuse of prescription ache medications set plenty of Americans on the route to habit.

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