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Health News Florida

A jury has been seated as Walgreens goes to trial in Pasco lawsuit on opioids

Carl Lisciandrello / WUSF Public Media
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Florida contends Walgreens has been an integral part of the opioid epidemic. Opening statements are set for early next week. The pharmacy chain says it will not settle.

Most of the defendants in Florida’s lawsuit over the opioid epidemic have settled for more than $870 million, according to the state attorney general.

One remains: Walgreens Co. is not giving up.

A jury has been seated in Pasco County to hear the state’s case against Walgreens, a huge drug store chain with outlets on street corners throughout the country.

Opening statements are set for early next week. The Deerfield, Illinois-based company says it will not settle.

Florida, led by Attorney General Ashley Moody, contends that Walgreens has been an integral part of the opioid epidemic. As examples of excess, Moody said that one Walgreens store sold 2.2 million opioid tablets Hudson, which has about 12,000 residents. Other locations, according to the state, increased their orders for opioids by 600% in a two-year period.

Last week, Moody reached settlements totaling more than $870 million with CVS Health Corp., CVS Pharmacy Inc., Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and Allergan PLC.

The funds “must be spent on opioid abatement, including prevention efforts, treatment, or recovery services,” according to Moody’s office.

In all, settlements, civil and criminal penalties in the opioid epidemic since 2007 have totaled over $45 billion, according to an Associated Press tally.

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