Kentucky AG sues CVS Well being over state’s opioid issues

Kentucky’s lawyer basic is suing CVS Well being

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky’s lawyer basic on Wednesday sued CVS Well being, accusing its pharmacy chain of flooding the state with prescription opioids that contributed to the state’s habit woes.

“As each distributor and pharmacy, CVS was in a novel place to observe and cease the peddling of those highly-addictive medication from their shops, but they ignored their very own safeguard techniques,” Cameron stated in a information launch.

It is the state’s newest authorized motion in opposition to firms it blames for supplying a large pipeline of prescription capsules into Kentucky. In 2015, drug overdoses accounted for about 60% of Kentucky’s statewide unintentional deaths, Cameron stated. The Republican lawyer basic is urgent lawsuits in opposition to a number of different opioid producers and distributors. A lot of these fits have been filed by Cameron’s predecessor, Democrat Andy Beshear, who’s now Kentucky’s governor.

CVS Well being didn’t instantly reply to an e mail looking for remark. The corporate operates one of many nation’s largest drugstore chains.

The brand new lawsuit says CVS Well being used illegal enterprise practices and failed to protect in opposition to the diversion of the highly effective opioids.

To spotlight the large provide, Cameron stated one CVS retailer in Perry County bought greater than 6.8 million dosage models of oxycodone and hydrocodone from 2006 to 2014 — sufficient opioids for resident of the Appalachian county to have greater than 26 capsules yearly throughout the identical interval. In western Kentucky, a CVS retailer in Crittenden County purchased greater than 2.8 million dosage models of the medication, sufficient to provide everybody within the county with no less than 34 capsules yearly, he stated.

Since CVS had a twin function within the opioid provide chain as a distributor and pharmacy, the lawsuit says the corporate’s compliance with the regulation “was important to safeguard shoppers and management the speed of habit, abuse, and diversion of opioids.”

Regardless of supplying “staggering portions” of opioids in Kentucky, CVS reported zero suspicious orders for its Kentucky shops from 2007 to 2014, Cameron stated. Even in the course of the top of the opioid epidemic, CVS helped promote opioid merchandise, he stated.

Drug overdose deaths spiked nationally and in Kentucky in the course of the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Kentucky, overdose deaths rose by 50% from September 2019 to September 2020, in contrast with the earlier 12 months, based on preliminary figures launched in April by the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, the Courier Journal reported. Habit specialists say the pandemic left individuals harassed and remoted, disrupted remedy and restoration applications, and contributed to an more and more harmful illicit drug provide.

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