Over the past few years, an increasing amount of people have become addicted to opioids. The rate of overdoses is way up. According to Pam Bondi, Florida’s attorney general, CVS and Walgreens are partly responsible for this ongoing opioid crisis.
In a bold move, Bondi held a press conference in which she alleged that the drugstores failed to prevent illegal sales of addictive painkillers. She also claimed that they’ve been overselling those painkillers.
Because of their involvement, Bondi added the companies to an ongoing lawsuit.
The state of Florida filed the original lawsuit in May of 2018. It was against Purdue Pharma, which makes OxyContin, as well as Teva Pharmaceutical, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, and Endo Pharmaceuticals. These companies are responsible for drugs such as Percocet and Duragesic.
The lawsuit alleges that these companies conspired to produce, distribute, and sell increasing amounts of opioids in the Sunshine State. It states that they knowingly made billions of dollars with products that cause harm.
Florida has been hit particularly hard by the growing opioid problem in the United States. For every 100,000 people, there have been 14.4 deaths, compared to 13.3 deaths in the U.S. as a whole. The lawsuit states an alarming statistic that CVS alone sold 700 million dosages to Floridians in the years between 2006 and 2014.
The federal government has been giving Florida money to deal with the opioid problem. After the governor, Rick Scott, declared an emergency, the federal government granted Florida a $54 million grant. This is only part of the estimated $65 million Florida has earmarked to treat the opioid emergency.
The suit claims that the companies violed Florida’s RICO act, as well as engaging in unfair and deceptive trade practices. Florida is asking for funds to repay the communities that have spent millions on treating opioid addiction and overdoses.