Walgreens found responsible in opioid trial

Walgreens helped fuel the opioid epidemic in San Francisco by dispensing hundreds of thousands of prescriptions without performing adequate due diligence, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.


U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer found that over the course of a 15-year period, Walgreens pharmacists did not stop or flag suspicious orders, including tens of thousands from doctors with suspect prescribing patterns.


“It is more likely than not that Walgreens pharmacies dispensed large volumes of medically illegitimate opioid prescriptions that were diverted for illicit use and that substantially contributed to the opioid epidemic in San Francisco,” causing a public nuisance, Breyer wrote.


The city sued dozens of defendants related to the opioid epidemic in San Francisco, including pharmacies, drug companies and distributors. Walgreens was the only one that did not settle by the time the trial closed in July.


Walgreens response: “The facts and the law do not support the court’s decision. As we have said throughout this process, we never manufactured or marketed opioids, nor did we distribute them to the ‘pill mills’ and internet pharmacies that fueled this crisis. We stand behind the professionalism and integrity of our pharmacists, dedicated healthcare professionals who live in the communities they serve.”