Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced today she had sued the Walgreen pharmacy chain over its opioid prescription practices.
The 36-page lawsuit says Arkansas has been hard-hit by abuse of opioid pain medicines and that Walgreen is partially responsible for failing to report suspicious purchases and ignoring “red flags” about prescriptions at Arkansas stores.
Walgreen and other chains have been named in similar suits in other states. The stores tend to blame physicians who write the scrips. Federal class action cases are pending.
The federal Justice Department also has sued Walmart, the Arkansas-based retail giant, over its opioid prescription practices. That complaint, which Walmart has disputed, says its pharmacies filled prescriptions “outside of normal pharmacy practice;” knowingly filled thousands of prescriptions for controlled substances that weren’t being used for legitimate medical needs, and received orders at distribution centers that it didn’t property report.
No response as yet from Rutledge’s office to my question of whether she was interested in joining in the fight over the practices of Walmart.
UPDATE: Her office responds:
We are not taking anything off the table. There are confidential investigations pending into large pharmacy chains that have not appropriately disclosed suspicious opioid prescriptions as obligated by law and the Attorney General will take legal action as necessary.