theguardian.com/us-news/2022/aug/10/walgreens-opioid-crisis-san-francisco-judge
The city won what local media has called a “landmark trial’ against Walgreens. The judge, Charles Breyer, found that the pharmacy chain had failed to properly investigate suspicious opioid orders. “Walgreens pharmacies in San Francisco dispensed hundreds of thousands of red-flag opioid prescriptions without performing adequate due diligence,” Breyer wrote in his ruling.

The company’s failures played a “substantial’ role in a crisis that has had “catastrophic” effects on the city, Breyer wrote. The city is seeing record numbers of fatal overdoses, with 650 people dying in 2021 and 712 deaths in 2020.

San Francisco sued several companies for their alleged roles in the opioid crisis. Opioid overdoses have been the leading cause of death for unhoused people in the city since 2016. Walgreens had opted not to settle and will now have to pay the city an amount that will be determined in a later trial.

The city proved that Walgreens had played a substantial role in creating the crisis, Breyer ruled. Last year, a federal jury found the retailer, along with CVS and Walmart, sent addictive opioids into two Ohio counties. “Dozens of syringes have been found in the sandbox at children’s playgrounds,” Breyer wrote.

Walgreens says it never manufactured or marketed opioids. Walgreens: "We stand behind the professionalism and integrity of our pharmacists" The company says it did not distribute opioids to “pill mills’ and internet pharmacies that fueled this crisis. The city has fought hard and continues to do so, but the opioid epidemic continues to substantially interfere with public rights.
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