Florida has been at the forefront of the US’s opioid crisis for more than a decade, famously allowing “pain clinics” that could prescribe hundreds of thousands of opioid pills with little regulation or oversight, which would then be filled at legitimate pharmacies.
Now Florida attorney general Pam Bondi is adding Walgreens and CVS to a lawsuit targeting companies who make and distribute opioids, according to a statement released Friday (Nov. 16).
“We will continue to pursue those companies that played a role in creating the opioid crisis,” Bondi said in the statement. “Thousands of Floridians have suffered as a result of the actions of the defendants.”
The lawsuit alleges that Walgreens has shipped and distributed billions of pain pills into Florida since 2006, each pharmacy ordering more than 1 million dosages in 2011 alone, which is 10 times the average.
“Walgreens has violated its obligations under Florida law as both a large-scale distributor and a large-scale pharmacy to prevent abuse,” the lawsuit says.
CVS spokesman Mike DeAngelis told the Associated Press that the lawsuit was “without merit,” while Walgreens did not comment.
Though law enforcement efforts have since curbed the pain clinics, Florida is still grappling with addiction to pain medication. This year it passed legislation to mandate limits on the amount of pain medication that can be prescribed.
But Bondi might not be the one overseeing the case for long; the state’s top law official is a favorite to replace Jeff Sessions as US attorney general.
“I’d consider Pam Bondi for anything,” Donald Trump told reporters earlier today (Nov. 17). “She’s always done a very good job. But in some form, I’d love to have her in the administration.”