Walgreens, CVS blame physicians for Florida's opioid crisis

Walgreens and CVS filed a complaint claiming 500 anonymous physicians are the "real culprits" behind Florida's opioid crisis, not the pharmacists who filled the opioid prescriptions, The Center Square reported. 

Florida filed a lawsuit in 2018 that claimed the two retail pharmacy giants sent an unreasonably high number of opioids to the state as the overdose rate doubled between 2014 and 2016. 

The lawsuit claims that Walgreens should have realized their opioid orders were inappropriate when it distributed 2.2 million opioid tablets to a city of 12,000 people in 2017. It also says CVS sold 700 million opioid doses in Florida between 2006 and 2014. 

In response, Walgreens and CVS have filed a third-party complaint denying liability for the state's opioid crisis and asking the court to focus on who they say is the real culprit: the physicians who prescribed the opioids. 

"Pharmacists do not write prescriptions and do not decide for doctors which medications are appropriate to treat their patients," the complaint says, according to The Center Square. "While pharmacists are highly trained and licensed professionals, they did not attend medical school and are not trained as physicians. They do not examine or diagnose patients. They do not write prescriptions."

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody called the complaint a publicity stunt and a "tone-deaf distraction by two of the wrongdoers in the national opioid crisis that is claiming 15 lives in Florida every single day," The Center Square reported. 

Walgreens and CVS sued hundreds of Ohio physicians last month, saying physicians and other prescribers should have to pay some legal penalty if drugstores are found liable, as the drugstores were simply following the directions of the physicians. 

Read the full article here

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