Erie county is suing five chain pharmacies for allegedly fueling the opioid epidemic by irresponsibly filling the local market with prescription opioids, despite warning indications of dubious orders.
According to the claim, the county is trying to hold accountable the chain pharmacies that oversupplied opioids into Erie county from 2006 to 2014. Chain pharmacies failed to monitor and control the improper sale and distribution of opioids contributing to the county's opioid crisis.
According to the lawsuit, 103,169,505 doses of the opiates hydrocodone and oxycodone were administered in Erie County between 2006 and 2014. According to the lawsuit, this equates to 379 doses for every man, woman, and kid in the county.
According to the lawsuit, 2012 was the peak year for opioid prescriptions dispensed in Erie county, with 101 prescriptions dispensed for every 100 Erie county residents. This equates to more than 284,000 opioid prescriptions made in Erie county that year.
Erie county has 653 overdose fatalities between 2012 and the most current data from 2021. Between 2015 and 2020, pharmaceutical drugs such as oxycodone, alprazolam, methadone, clonazepam, and hydrocodone were implicated in more than 21% of overdose deaths.
CVS, Giant Eagle, Rite Aid, Walgreens, and Walmart are listed as defendants in the claim. They did not reply quickly to requests for comment and will have an opportunity to respond to the accusations in court.
The lawsuit alleges that the pharmacies failed to implement appropriate controls to prevent opioid diversion and the development of a black market for pain medicines. The lawsuit even alleges that the pharmacies failed to respond properly to concerns made by its own workers about poor standards and processes for completing opioid prescriptions.
It further argues that the chain pharmacies failed to use the data at their disposal to identify suspicious orders, suspicious red flag prescriptions, and to avoid or limit the danger of diversion.
The case arose from the worst man-made crisis in modern American medical history, an epidemic of addiction, overdose, and death caused by the defendants' flow of prescription opioids into the United States, including the plaintiff's neighbourhood.