(POST GAZETTE) – Walgreens helped fuel the opioid epidemic in San Francisco by shipping and dispensing the addictive drugs without proper due diligence, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
In a 112-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer highlighted shortcomings by the company responsible for shipping nearly 1 out of every 5 oxycodone and hydrocodone pills distributed nationwide during the height of the opioid crisis. Walgreens, the only drug company sued by San Francisco that did not settle and went to trial in April, “substantially contributed” to the crisis by not stopping suspicious orders and the diversion of drugs for illicit use, causing a public nuisance, Judge Breyer wrote.
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“Walgreens has regulatory obligations to take reasonable steps to prevent the drugs from being diverted and harming the public,” Judge Breyer wrote. “The evidence at trial established that Walgreens breached these obligations.”