FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Attorney General Daniel Cameron filed a lawsuit against CVS Health (CVS) for the company’s role in Kentucky’s opioid epidemic on Tuesday. The lawsuit alleges the company, “engaged in unlawful business practices and failed to guard against the diversion of opioids”.
Cameron says by filing the lawsuit on behalf of Kentuckians, the state is holding CVS accountable for its "decisions and contributions to a man-made crisis".
“During the height of the opioid epidemic, CVS allowed millions of dosage units of opioids to flood Kentucky’s borders, fueling the crisis and devastating thousands of families and communities across the Commonwealth,” said Cameron. “As both distributor and pharmacy, CVS was in a unique position to monitor and stop the peddling of these highly-addictive drugs from their stores, yet they ignored their own safeguard systems."
Between 2006 and 2014, CVS pharmacies in Kentucky purchased more than 151 million dosage units of oxycodone and hydrocodone from its distribution centers and third-party distributors, accounting for nearly 6.1 percent of the total dosage units in the Commonwealth during this time.
The lawsuit alleges seven claims against CVS for its role in the opioid epidemic.
This is the latest action by Cameron holding companies responsible for their role in Kentucky's opioid crisis.
Cameron continues to pursue litigation against Walgreens, Endo Pharmaceuticals, and Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Inc. for each company's role in the opioid crisis. Settlement discussions are ongoing with Johnson & Johnson, McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen for failing to maintain effective control over their narcotics. Claims against two other opioid producers in bankruptcy, Purdue Pharma and Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, are progressing toward resolution later this year.