CVS sued by Kentucky AG over opioid crisis

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron on June 2 filed a lawsuit against CVS Health, accusing the retail pharmacy giant of fueling the state's opioid crisis.

CVS pharmacies in Kentucky purchased more than 151 million dosage units of oxycodone and hydrocodone from the company's distribution centers and third-party distributors between 2006 and 2014, accounting for nearly 6.1 percent of the state's total dosage units during that time period, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit says that CVS did not report any suspicious orders for its Kentucky locations from 2007 to 2015, even after the company saw it was supplying "staggering quantities of opioids" to the state.

"As both distributor and pharmacy, CVS was in a unique position to monitor and stop the peddling of these highly-addictive drugs from their stores, yet they ignored their own safeguard systems," Mr. Cameron said in a news release.

Michael DeAngelis, CVS' senior director of corporate communications, told NBC News the company is prepared to defend against these allegations.

"Pharmacists dispense opioid prescriptions written by licensed physicians for a legitimate medical need. Pharmacists do not — and cannot — write prescriptions. Nor do they — or can they — examine patients, conduct tests, diagnose medical conditions, or determine medical treatment," Mr. DeAngelis said. "That is the role of physicians, who have the responsibility to write appropriate prescriptions."

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