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Kentucky AG sues CVS Health for state opioid issues

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Frankfort, Kentucky (AP) — Kentucky Attorney General sued CVS Health on Wednesday, accusing the pharmacy chain of flooding the state with prescription opioids that contributed to the suffering of state addiction.

Prosecutor Daniel Cameron has filed a proceeding in the Franklin County Circuit Court, saying that the health care company has played a role of “fueling the crisis” by flooding the state with millions of powerful prescription painkillers.

“As both distributors and pharmacies, CVS was in a unique position to monitor and block the sale of these highly addictive drugs in stores, but ignored its own safety device system, Cameron said in a news release. was doing.

This is the state’s latest proceeding against a company accusing Kentucky of supplying a large pipeline of prescription drugs. In 2015, about 60% of all accidental deaths in Kentucky were due to drug overdose, Cameron said. The Republican Attorney General is proceeding with proceedings against several other opioid manufacturers and distributors. Many of these proceedings were filed by Democrat Andy Bescher, Cameron’s predecessor and current Governor of Kentucky.

CVS Health did not immediately respond to the email asking for comment. The company operates one of the largest drugstore chains in the country.

The new proceedings allege that CVS Health used illegal business practices to prevent the diversion of strong opioids.

To emphasize the large supply, Cameron said one CVS store in Perry County purchased more than 6.8 million dose units of oxycodone and hydrocodone between 2006 and 2014 .. Crittenden in western Kentucky. The county CVS store has purchased over 2.8 million units of medication. This is enough to supply at least 34 tablets each year to everyone in the county.

Because CVS played a dual role as a distributor and pharmacy in the opioid supply chain, in the proceedings, compliance with the law “to protect consumers and control opioid addiction, abuse and diversion rates. Was essential to. “

Despite supplying “amazing amounts” of opioids in Kentucky, CVS reported zero suspicious orders to stores in Kentucky from 2007 to 2014, Cameron said. Even during the opioid epidemic, CVS helped promote opioid products, he said.

Deaths from drug overdose surged nationwide and in Kentucky during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Kentucky, from September 2019 to September 2020, 50% of deaths from overdose from September 2019 to September 2020, according to provisional figures released in April by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Has increased. Addiction experts say the pandemic caused people to become stressed, isolated, disrupted treatment and recovery programs, and contributed to an increasingly dangerous illicit drug supply.

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