Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. supplied billions of opioid pills to drug addicts and criminals, contributing to an addiction epidemic in Florida, a lawyer for the state said on Monday as a civil trial against the pharmacy chain got underway.
Walgreens filled one in four opioid prescriptions in Florida between 1999 and 2020, and failed to investigate red flags that could have prevented drugs from being diverted for illegal use, the state’s lawyer Jim Webster told jurors.
“Walgreens was the last line of defense in preventing improper distribution of opioids,” Webster said. “It was the entity that actually put the opioids in the hands of people addicted to opioids and the hands of criminals.”
The company has denied the allegations, saying it filled prescriptions written by doctors.
Walgreens is the final remaining defendant in the trial taking place before Judge Kimberly Sharpe Byrd in Pasco County Circuit Court, after the state reached $878 million in settlements with four others.
Pharmacy chain rival CVS Health Corp. agreed to pay $484 million, while drugmakers Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. will pay $194.8 million, Abbvie Inc.’s Allergan unit will pay $134.2 million, and Endo International Plc. will pay $65 million.
Walgreens has argued it was immune from being sued based on a mere $3,000 settlement it reached with Florida in 2012, following an investigation into its record-keeping policies and efforts to prevent the diversion of opioid drugs.
The company has said Florida was bound by that accord even if it now regretted the terms as a “bad bargain.”
Florida has called Walgreens’ position “absurd,” saying the settlement addressed only a single record-keeping violation.
Florida has collected more than $3 billion in opioid litigation against drugmakers, distributors, and pharmacies, according to Attorney General Ashley Moody. Most will be spent on efforts to mitigate the opioid crisis in the state.
The nationwide opioid crisis has included more than 500,000 U.S. deaths from overdoses in the past two decades, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
By Dietrich Knauth
Have you received Salvation from Jesus the Messiah? Time is running out. Jesus will return very soon. The signs of His return are everywhere in this crazy world we are living in. Please read below so that you can be saved. Jesus is the only way to Heaven. The Words below are directly from the Bible, so you can trust them.
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6)
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:16-17)
If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all )is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9-13)
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. IF YOU KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. (John 15:9)
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
For those of us who persevere and do what Jesus says to do, we have this to look forward to in eternity: And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
The Bible – New King James Version, NKJV