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Trial Opens In Florida Opioid Lawsuit Case In opposition to Walgreens


Trial Opens In Florida Opioid Lawsuit Case In opposition to Walgreens

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Trial opened Monday in Florida’s opioid epidemic lawsuit in opposition to the Walgreens pharmacy chain, which state officers accuse of prioritizing earnings over well being by improperly dishing out thousands and thousands of highly effective painkillers that brought on tens of hundreds of deaths.

The trial, in Pasco County north of Tampa, comes after different defendants within the Florida lawsuit together with the CVS drug store chain settled for an estimated $870 million. The state might search related huge damages from Walgreens within the jury trial anticipated to final a couple of weeks.

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma has a tentative nationwide deal that includes $6 billion in money from members of the Sackler household who personal the corporate. In all, settlements, civil and felony penalties across the nation since 2007 have totaled over $45 billion, in keeping with an Related Press tally.

In Florida, the state’s case hinges on accusations that as Walgreens allotted greater than 4.3 billion complete opioid drugs in Florida from Might 2006 to June 2021, greater than half contained a number of simply acknowledged pink flags for abuse, fraud and habit that the corporate ought to have observed and acted upon.

“The proof will present Walgreens knowingly profited from the opioid disaster,” stated lawyer Jim Webster for the state in a gap assertion, which was attended by Florida Lawyer Basic Ashley Moody. “Walgreens wasn’t simply grasping. It was fueling the opioid disaster that was killing individuals.”

Walgreens relies in Deerfield, Illinois, and operates greater than 9,000 shops in all 50 states, in keeping with the company website. About 820 of these areas are in Florida.

Walgreens lawyer Steve Derringer instructed jurors they need to concentrate on how producers comparable to Purdue Pharma misled pharmacies on opioid addictive properties. He additionally famous that Florida did little because the opioid epidemic arose, notably the predatory “tablet mills” that proliferated within the state earlier than a crackdown lastly ended them.

“Walgreens had nothing to do with any of that,” Derringer stated in his opening assertion. “They (drug makers) brought on this epidemic by misrepresenting the dangers and advantages to pharmacies.”

The opioid epidemic has been linked to greater than 500,000 deaths within the U.S. over the previous twenty years, counting these from prescription painkillers comparable to OxyContin and generic oxycodone in addition to illicit medication comparable to heroin and illegally produced fentanyl.

In Florida, Webster stated, greater than 39,000 Floridians died from opioid abuse or associated issues between 1999 and 2020. Walgreens, he stated, offered about one in all each 4 opioids within the state over the same time span typically underneath questionable circumstances, comparable to a shady physician, faux prescriptions or large quantities of medicine clearly far in extra of what was vital for a given affected person.

“Walgreens was the final line of protection,” Webster stated. “Walgreens failed its responsibility to research suspicious prescriptions.”

Florida has spent some $14 billion over the past 20 years for a number of opioid-related prices, starting from felony justice to drug rehabilitation for addicts to remedy for opioid-addicted infants, Webster stated. The state will search billions of {dollars} in damages within the Walgreens case.

In the identical case, Moody stated CVS Well being Corp. and CVS Pharmacy Inc. pays the state $484 million. Teva Prescription drugs Industries Ltd. agreed to pay $195 million and Allergan PLC greater than $134 million.

Florida has beforehand obtained thousands and thousands of {dollars} in opioid settlements involving McKesson Corp., Cardinal Well being Inc., Johnson & Johnson Inc. and AmerisourceBergen Corp.

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