Ashley Moody Gets Ready to Battle Walgreens Over Opioids

Following more than $3 billion in recoveries from defendants in Florida’s opioid litigation, one remains—Walgreens. Last week, state Attorney General Ashley Moody announced that the state of Florida will be in trial this week to hold Walgreens accountable for its role in helping create and fuel the deadly opioid crisis devastating Florida families and draining taxpayer-funded resources.

“I am encouraged that all the other defendants in our historic opioid litigation stepped up, and we recovered more than $3 billion to help Florida address the devastation caused by the opioid epidemic. It’s time for Walgreens to face accountability for their part in fueling the opioid crisis, and my team is prepared to vigorously try our strong case against them,” Moody said.

Florida’s case to hold Walgreens responsible for the pharmaceutical company’s role in the opioid crisis is set for jury trial on April 5. The case will be heard in New Port Richey, with jury selection in front of Judge Kimberly Sharpe Byrd. After jury selection, opening statements are likely to occur on or about April 11.

In court filings, the State highlights concerning evidence surrounding Walgreens dispensing and distribution of opioids in Florida. According to the filings, “a Walgreens drug distribution center sold 2.2 million tablets to a single Walgreens’ pharmacy in tiny Hudson, a roughly six-month supply for each of its 12,000 residents… In some cases, Walgreens increased orders as much as 600% in the space of just two years, including, for example, supplying a town of 3,000 with 285,800 orders of oxycodone in a one-month period.”

The Office of the Attorney General will outline additional facts and figures concerning Walgreens’s role in creating and fueling the deadly opioid crisis during next week’s trial.

Moody recently announced the securement of more than $870 million for opioid abatement from former defendants in the State’s case: CVS Health Corporation, CVS Pharmacy, Inc., Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd. and Allergan PLC. Additionally, Attorney General Moody announced the finalization of the State’s agreement with Endo Health Solutions.

The recent securements follow several other, earlier Florida negotiations. In July 2021, Moody announced a multibillion-dollar nationwide settlement with McKesson Corp., Cardinal Health, Inc., AmerisourceBergen Corp., and Johnson & Johnson, Inc. Florida will receive more than $1.6 billion, which must be used for remediation. Florida finalized a settlement with McKinsey & Company for $40 million in February 2021.

The OAG has set up an online portal for local governments to sign on to the various opioid-related settlements.

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