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Home / Business / Florida sues CVS, Walgreens on the sale of opioids: "Thousands of Floridians have suffered"

Florida sues CVS, Walgreens on the sale of opioids: "Thousands of Floridians have suffered"



The state of Florida has sued the two largest drug stores in the country over the sale of opioids – an epidemic that has killed thousands in the state over the past few years.

Attorney General Pam Bondi announced that the state had changed an original lawsuit filed in May to include both CVS Pharmacy and Walgreens. Insys Therapeutics, a specialist pharmaceutical company that manufactures Subsys, the trademark of a type of fentanyl, was also added to the complaint.

CVS and Walgreens are the two largest pharmacy chains in the country, according to the healthcare marketing agency SK & A, with around 18,000 stores between the two brands. Walgreens operates 820 stores and CVS operates 754 stores in Florida, according to the lawsuit.

  PHOTO: In this August 7, 2018, file image, a CVS pharmacy context rests on a Jackson, Miss., Store. AP
In this August 7, 2018, a CVS Pharmacy Building Sign file file rests on a Jackson, Miss., Store.

"We will continue to pursue those companies that played a part in creating the opioid crisis," Bondi said in a statement. "Thousands of Floridians have suffered as a result of actions by the defendants."

Lawsuits filed in May, including Purdue Pharma, producer of OxyContin; Endo Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of Percocet and Opana; Janssen Pharmaceuticals, manufacturer of fentanyl drug Duragesic; and Teva Pharmaceutical, one of the largest generic drug manufacturers in the world.

"Opioid use has had tragic consequences for communities across Florida, and the state has been forced to spend huge sums owing to the opioid crisis," said the initiation of the lawsuit. "The crisis has a cause: sued the co-operation to sell and send ever-increasing amounts opioids to Florida. "

Florida has been hit hard by the country's opium crisis.

In 2016, the latest available data died 2,798 people of opioid overdoses, according to the National Institute for Drug Addiction. The rate of 14.4 deaths per 100,000 people is 1.1 deaths above the national average.

  PHOTO: This June 25, 2018 file file shows Walgreens in Peoria, Ariz. AP
This June 25, 2018 file shows Walgreens in Peoria, Ariz.

The number of opioid overdose deaths in Florida in 1999 was only 2.6 per 100,000 people, according to NIH. That figure jumped to 8.7 per 100 000 a decade later and 9.4 in 2015.

According to the Center for Disease Control, the countrywide number of overdose deaths involving non-prescription opioids was five times higher in 2016 than in 1999.

"Defendants picked up billions of dollars in revenue while they knew, or should have known, that they caused huge damage to the state and its citizens," according to the lawsuit.

CVS distributed 700 million doses of opioids in Florida from 2006 to 2014, according to the costume. Lawsuits say that a Florida city of only 3,000 people was delivered with 285,800 orders of oxycodone in a month of a Walgreens distribution center.

The state is seeking a judicial trial in civil matters.

Bondi has been mentioned as a possible replacement for US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as President Donald Trump confirmed on Saturday.

ABC News & Christopher Donato contributed to this report.


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