CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

State of Utah files lawsuit against pharmaceutical retailers

Jul 1, 2022, 8:00 PM

Herbert Cox statement Reyes election lawsuit...

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes filed a lawsuit this week against three pharmaceutical retailers.

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes filed a lawsuit on behalf of the state against pharmaceutical retailers Rite-Aid, Walgreens and Smith’s/Kroger.

According to a news release, the suit was filed the week of July 1. It claims businesses inappropriately distributed prescription pain medicine, which worsened the opioid crisis.

According to the news release, the lawsuit says pharmacies “deliberately disregarded their duties to maintain effective controls against diversion.”

Additionally, the lawsuit also states, “(It) created an abatable public nuisance.” 

As a result, the lawsuit is seeking payment for damages and payment for the reduction of opioid use disorder. 

Claims in the pharmaceutical lawsuit

Certain Walgreens stores received so many shipments from manufactures that they ran out of space. As a result, the stores were forced to place them in boxes in unsecure areas, according to the news release.

The news release also states that the corporate office was receiving rewards based on the number of prescriptions that were filled, and how quickly they were filled. 

According to the news release, Smith’s/Kroeger reportedly failed to report questionable orders. Or otherwise help contain the supply of opioids coming into the state. The suit says Kroger was reportedly aware people were traveling great distances to fill prescriptions or to prescribers. 

The lawsuit finally states that the companies allegedly worked together to lobby against restrictions to and for enforcement, as well as to increase profits. 

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State of Utah files lawsuit against pharmaceutical retailers