CRIME

Utah AG sues major pharmaceutical retailers over opioid crisis

Jul 2, 2022, 3:48 PM
FILE: Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes (Photo: Jacob Wiegand, Deseret News)...
FILE: Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes (Photo: Jacob Wiegand/Deseret News)
(Photo: Jacob Wiegand/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah’s Attorney General’s office filed a lawsuit against Walgreens, Kroger, and Rite-Aid for “actively exacerbating” the opioid crisis.

In a press release, the lawsuit claims that the three pharmacies “deliberately disregarded their duties to maintain effective controls against diversion and created an abatable public nuisance.”

The lawsuit claims that Walgreen stores were storing perceptions in “unsecured locations,” and their corporate office was getting bonuses based on how many prescriptions were filled and how fast they were sent.

Meanwhile, Kroger failed to report suspicious orders of prescriptions and knew about people abusing their system.

The lawsuit claims that an unnamed store in Price, Utah, “had a higher-than-average amount of pills purchased” and “it bought enough oxycodone and hydrocodone over seven years to supply 71 pills per person in the community.”

The press release didn’t mention the specific reasons for suing Rite-Aid.

The suit also alleges that the pharmacies worked together to increase their profits and lobbied against restrictions.

“Chain pharmacies which act as both self-distributors and the last link in the opioid supply chain,” the press release states. “Instead of using the information they had to maintain effective controls against diversion, Defendants abdicated their responsibility to protect the public.”

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Utah AG sues major pharmaceutical retailers over opioid crisis