By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law
On November 19, 2018, the state of Florida announced that it is suing pharmacy chains Walgreens and CVS over their role in what it calls “unconscionable efforts to increase and expand the ongoing opioid crisis in Florida.” State Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office announced that it added the two companies to a lawsuit filed in May 2018, against opioid distributors and manufacturers.
The Supply and Demand Problem with Opioids.
The state alleges that the two chains are responsible for overselling addictive opioids, as well as not taking precautionary measures to stop illegal sales, helping to inflate the supply and demand. The companies join Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, as well as several other opioid distributors, as defendants in the lawsuit.
In a news release, Bondi noted that the companies failed to stop “suspicious orders of opioids” and “dispensed unreasonable quantities of opioids from their pharmacies.” Click here to read the press release.
As the Opioid Crisis Continues, So Do the DEA Investigations.
Both companies have previously paid to resolve Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) allegations and have shelled out millions to settle allegations involving stores in Florida. In 2018, Walgreens agreed to pay $80 million to resolve a DEA investigation into inadequate record keeping and diversion related to opioids, according to the suit. Likewise, CVS agreed to pay $22 million in 2015 to resolve DEA allegations that its pharmacists were filling fake prescriptions for opioids and other drugs. Click here to read the amended complaint in full.
In the last decade, law enforcement has cracked down on opioid prescriptions and pill mill operations. Florida ‘s lawsuit comes at a time when more than 1,000 state and local governments across the U.S. are pursuing civil cases against opioid-makers and distributors.
Click here to read one of my prior blogs on this topic.
Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Representing Pharmacies and Pharmacists.
The Health Law Firm represents pharmacists and pharmacies in DEA, DOH and FDA investigations, qui tam and whistleblower cases, regulatory matters, licensing issues, litigation, administrative hearings, inspections and audits. The firm’s attorneys include those who are board certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law as well as licensed health professionals who are also attorneys.
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Sullivan, Emily. “Florida Sues Walgreens, CVS For Alleged Role In Opioid Crisis.” NPR. (November 19, 2018). Web.
Peters, Xander. “Florida files lawsuit against Walgreens, CVS for allegedly ‘playing a role’ in opioid crisis.” Orlando Weekly. (November 19, 2018). Web.
About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.
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