Apr 6, 2022 - News

Jury selection starts in Florida's opioid suit against Walgreens

Illustration of a gavel made of a pill bottle, touching a gavel rest made of a white pill.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The latest battle in the war against the opioid crisis is happening in Pasco County.

Driving the news: Jury selection began Tuesday in New Port Richey for Florida's suit against Walgreens, per Fox 13.

  • Attorney General Ashley Moody plans to hold the company accountable for the role she says it played in bringing a deadly opioid epidemic to Florida.

Why it matters: After California, Florida reported the second-highest number of overdose deaths last year, at 7,200.

The big picture: ​​Florida has already prevailed in several of these fights, winning more than $3 billion from other pharmaceutical companies.

  • Last week, the state settled for $870 million with defendants including CVS.
  • The money is supposed to go towards drug prevention measures and treatment and recovery services.

Between the lines: Moody details in court filings how a Walgreens drug distribution center sold 2.2 million pills to a single pharmacy in Hudson — a roughly six-month supply for each of Hudson's 12,000 residents.

  • She also accused the company of increasing drug orders by as much as 600%, including supplying one town of 3,000 people with 285,000 orders of oxycodone in a month.

The other side: Walgreens blamed doctors for ordering improper prescriptions, filing a third-party complaint in 2020 against Drs. John and Jane Doe, but that motion was struck down in July 2020.

What's next: Opening statements in the Walgreens case are set for Monday.


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