US sues Rite Aid for allegedly filling 'unlawful' opioid prescriptions

The Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against Rite Aid, claiming the retail pharmacy chain filled hundreds of thousands of "unlawful" prescriptions of controlled substances, including opioids, from May 2014 to June 2019. 

According to the government's complaint, Rite Aid filled at least hundreds of thousands of prescriptions for controlled substances "that were medically unnecessary, lacked a medically accepted indication, or were not issued in the usual course of professional practice." This included prescriptions for a dangerous combination of opioids, benzodiazepines and muscle relaxants known as "trinities." 

The complaint alleges Rite Aid's government affairs department was aware its pharmacists were filling prescriptions despite "obvious red flags" that they were unlawful and intentionally deleted internal notes pharmacists had written about suspicious prescribers. 

"These practices opened the floodgates for millions of opioid pills and other controlled substances to flow illegally out of Rite Aid's stores," Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said in a March 13 statement from the Justice Department. 

Rite Aid declined to respond to CBS News' request for comment, citing litigation. 

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