CVS, Walgreens facing fewer allegations in federal opioid litigation

CVS and Walgreens now face fewer allegations against them in federal opioid litigation after an April 15 appeals court ruling, STAT reported. 

The retail pharmacy giants, along with Rite Aid, faced allegations that they contributed to the opioid crisis by dispensing addictive painkillers. The pharmacy companies argued that a federal district court incorrectly allowed the two Ohio counties that filed the claims to pursue the allegations. 

A U.S. appeals court in Cincinnati ruled in favor of the pharmacy companies April 15, saying they won't have to face allegations related to their dispensing practices in a federal bellwether trial, which is a trial that tests different arguments to move litigation forward, according to STAT.  

"Walgreens never manufactured or marketed any opioid medications. Our pharmacists only dispensed FDA-approved opioid medications when presented with a prescription written by a physician with a valid DEA license for a legitimate medical need," a Walgreens spokesperson told STAT in response to the ruling, adding that the company was pleased with the appeals court's decision. 

Attorneys representing the counties that filed the lawsuits against the pharmacy chains criticized the ruling, arguing that "pharmacy chains unleashed more than 100 billion opioid pills in a decade's time into communities across the country. These defendants allowed the opioid epidemic to rage on despite warning signs of a public health crisis, killing on average 130 Americans every day. In fact, they took advantage of their well-positioned view of the supply chain to grow their bottom line."

The retail pharmacies still face litigation against them as distributors of opioid products.

Read the full article here.

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