AG Ferguson announces lawsuits against 3 pharmacy chains for their role in opioid crisis

Washington state Attorney General (AG) Bob Ferguson announced lawsuits against three national pharmacy chains for their role in the opioid epidemic on Wednesday.

During the 11:00 a.m. press conference, AG Ferguson announced that he had filed lawsuits against Albertsons, Kroger and Rite Aid - saying that the three companies fueled the opioid crisis in Washington state. Those companies also acquired pharmacy chains like Safeway, QFC, Fred Meyer and Bartell Drugs.

The lawsuit claims these pharmacy chains collectively ignored federal regulations, and prioritized profit over the wellbeing of those getting their prescriptions filled. Additionally, the lawsuit asserts that these companies knowingly oversupplied prescription opioids in the state, which consequently led to a separate illegal market that flooded communities with highly addictive, dangerous drugs. 

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"Opioids tore apart Washington families, overburdened our health care system and caused an epidemic of addiction we are still struggling to contain," said Ferguson. "My office won a billion dollars to help fund recovery efforts, but I am not done. I will continue to hold accountable the corporations that enriched themselves off the suffering of Washington families."

According to the AG's office, these companies illegally, recklessly and negligently filled opioid prescriptions without investigating "red flags" of fraud or overprescribing.

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AG Ferguson announced five new resolutions with other national drug companies, totaling more than $400 million. 

That brings the total amount the state has recovered against companies to more than $1.1 billion. These funds are used for opioid abatement and treatment programs in Washington state.