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Kentucky sues Walgreens over opioid epidemic

Kentucky sues Walgreens over opioid epidemic
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Kentucky’s attorney general sued Walgreens Thursday, alleging that the company contributed to the state’s opioid epidemic.

Attorney General Andy Beshear, a Democrat, sued Walgreens for its role as both a distributor and a pharmacy. The lawsuit alleges that the company failed to report suspicious shipments of opioids to authorities and that it dispensed large quantities of the painkiller.

“As Attorney General, my job is to hold accountable anyone who harms our families,” Beshear said in a press 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.”

Walgreens declined to comment because the subject is a matter of pending litigation.  

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The company has over 70 locations in Kentucky, according to Beshear’s press release.

This is the sixth lawsuit Beshear has filed against companies in relation to the opioid epidemic, which is contributing to an estimated 115 American deaths per day. Other states have also been suing opioid distributors and manufacturers. Another new legal challenge was just filed on Wednesday, when Massachusetts sued Purdue Pharma and 16 current and former directors and executives.

On another legal track, hundreds of lawsuits from cities, counties and tribes have been consolidated in Cleveland, Ohio, where federal District Court Judge Dan Polster is aiming to “do something to dramatically reduce the number of opioids that are being disseminated, manufactured and distributed” and also “get some amount of money to the government agencies for treatment.”

Some opioid manufacturers and distributors have pushed back on the notion that they’re to blame for the opioid epidemic, and said they are working to be part of the solution.