Walgreens faces fine for hundreds of thousands of red flag prescriptions – were you affected?

A federal judge has ruled that Walgreens could be held responsible for contributing to California’s opioid epidemic.

The City of San Francisco sued several companies for failure to exercise proper prescription oversight, including overdosing and failing to report suspicious orders.

Walgreens plans to appeal the verdict

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Walgreens plans to appeal the verdictPhoto credit: Getty

In a 112-page opinion, US District Judge Charles Breyer ruled Wednesday that the company, the only one of the four defendants to fail to reach a settlement, had created a public nuisance.

“From 2006 to 2020, Walgreens dispensaries in San Francisco dispensed hundreds of thousands of red flag opioid prescriptions without performing proper due diligence,” the judge wrote in the ruling.

“Tens of thousands of these prescriptions were written by doctors using suspicious prescribing patterns.

“The evidence showed that Walgreens did not allocate sufficient time, staff or resources to its pharmacists to review these prescriptions with due diligence.

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“Pharmacists have been under constant pressure to fill prescriptions as quickly as possible and a lack of resources to review them prior to dispensing because Walgreens failed to provide adequate due diligence for fifteen years.

“[The city] proved that it is very likely that Walgreens dispensaries dispensed large quantities of medically illegitimate opioid prescriptions that were diverted for illicit use and that contributed significantly to the San Francisco opioid epidemic.

In 2012, the DEA shut down one of Walgreens’ three controlled substance distribution centers for failing to monitor suspicious opioid orders.

Shortly thereafter, Walgreens stopped selling opioids altogether, the briefing said.

A court hearing was held from April 25 to June 27, and a closing argument was held from July 12 to July 13.

Another trial will be held to determine a possible monetary claim against the company.

In a statement to the US Sun, Walgreens denied any wrongdoing and said they plan to appeal.

“The facts and the law do not support the court’s decision,” said spokesman Fraser Engelman.

“As we have said during this process, we have never manufactured or marketed opioids, nor have we distributed them to the ‘pill mills’ and internet pharmacies that have fueled this crisis.

“We stand behind the professionalism and integrity of our pharmacists, dedicated healthcare professionals who live in the communities they serve.

“Plaintiff’s attempt to resolve the opioid crisis with unprecedented levels of public indecency is misguided and unsustainable. We look forward to the opportunity to address these issues in the appeal process.”

This is the first lawsuit to rule in the city’s favor in a national opioid litigation and the first lawsuit in which the city’s attorney, Walgreens, is found liable David Chiu said in a statement.

He added the ruling: “Gives a voice to the thousands of lives lost to the opioid epidemic.”

“Any drug company needs to reckon with the conspicuous, careful presentation of the judge’s verdict on this behavior and the damage it causes — and make sure it never happens again,” the attorney said Paul Gellera member of the executive committee leading the nationwide opioid litigation.

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According to a special project by the San Francisco Chronicle, the city had over 600 opioid-related deaths in 2021 and over 700 in 2020.

There have been almost 300 deaths so far this year.

https://www.the-sun.com/news/5981555/walgreens-faces-fine-over-opioids/ Walgreens faces fine for hundreds of thousands of red flag prescriptions – were you affected?

DevanCole

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