Beshear sues Walgreens, alleging it worsened opioid epidemic by not reporting unusually large drug shipments top Kentucky

Attorney General Andy Beshear is suing Walgreens for “allegedly failing to legally monitor its own operations that shipped and dispensed large quantities of opioids through its more than 70 locations statewide . . . directly contributing to the state’s drug epidemic,” his office said in a press release.

Walgreens is not only the nation’s second-largest pharmacy chain, it is also a distributor of pharmaceuticals, “a unique positon,” the release said. The lawsuit, filed June 14, involves both roles. It accuses Walgreens for “failing to legally report to state and federal authorities the suspiciously large orders it received for prescription opioids,” the release says.

The suit alleges, “Walgreens pharmacies filled so many opioid prescriptions, that the numbers of opioids dispensed by Walgreens pharmacies were unreasonable on their face. Acting as a distributor, Walgreens received orders for those opioids from its own stores. Upon information and belief, those opioid orders were suspicious on their face due to the unreasonable numbers of opioids being dispensed at the store level, but were nevertheless shipped, rather than flagged, halted and reported.”

The company declined to comment, according to several news-media reports.

Beshear said he filed the suit in in Boone County because of the large number of Kentuckians who have died from overdoses in Northern Kentucky. He has filed five similar suits.

The release said Beshear is working with CVS Health, the nation’s largest pharmacy chain, to created places for safe disposal of drugs at pharmacies in Elizabethtown, Frankfort, Georgetown, Lexington, Louisville and Paducah.

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