Lawsuit claims Walgreens fueled the opioid epidemic that disproportionately impacts Arkansas
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Legal professional Basic Leslie Rutledge right this moment filed a lawsuit towards Walgreens for its function in fueling the opioid disaster in Arkansas and throughout America. The epidemic has turn into so prevalent in Arkansas that 66 out of the 75 counties within the State have total opioid prescribing charges larger than the nationwide common and there are sufficient opioids in Arkansas being bought that each man, girl and baby can take 80 drugs every over the course of a yr. For its half, Walgreens failed in its accountability to report suspicious orders of prescription opioids and ignored crimson flags about prescriptions distributed at its Arkansas shops.
“Opioid abuse has turn into an epidemic in and of itself in Arkansas, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made issues worse,” mentioned Legal professional Basic Rutledge. “The affect of opioid abuse on Arkansans is disproportionately excessive in comparison with different states and although this lawsuit gained’t be capable to proper the entire wrongs which were executed, it may deliver some assist after the epidemic devastated households and communities. Firms like Walgreens shouldn’t be allowed to place company earnings over the well being and security of Arkansans.”
The risks of opioids are well-known, and all firms within the provide chain of the managed substance, together with Walgreens, have the first accountability of guaranteeing the medication are solely distributed and given to the suitable sufferers and never touchdown within the palms of anybody else. As indicated within the grievance, “Walgreens has contributed considerably to the opioid disaster by promoting, distributing, and allotting far better portions of prescription opioids than it is aware of could possibly be vital for reliable medical makes use of, whereas failing to report, and to take steps to halt, suspicious orders once they have been recognized, thereby exacerbating the oversupply of such medication and fueling an unlawful secondary market.”
The lawsuit seeks an injunction to drive Walgreens to behave responsibly and comply with federal and state legal guidelines and damages for fueling the general public well being epidemic, in addition to civil penalties for every violation of Arkansas’s shopper safety legal guidelines.
Rutledge has taken an aggressive method to guard Arkansans and fight the epidemic by suing producers Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharma and Endo for violations of the Arkansas Misleading Commerce Practices Act (ADTPA) and the Arkansas Medicaid Fraud False Claims Act. In April 2019, Rutledge filed a separate lawsuit towards distributors Cardinal Well being, McKesson Company and AmerisourceBergen Drug Company for violations of the ADTPA in addition to for negligence, creation of a public nuisance and being unjustly enriched by their enterprise practices.
About Legal professional Basic Leslie Rutledge
Leslie Carol Rutledge is the 56th Legal professional Basic of Arkansas. Elected on November 4, 2014, and sworn in on January 13, 2015, she is the primary girl and first Republican in Arkansas historical past to be elected as Legal professional Basic. She was resoundingly re-elected on November 6, 2018. Since taking workplace, she has considerably elevated the variety of arrests and convictions towards on-line predators who exploit kids and con artists who steal taxpayer cash by means of Social Safety Incapacity and Medicaid fraud. Additional, she has held Rutledge Roundtable conferences and Cell Workplace hours in each county of the State every year, and launched a Navy and Veterans Initiative. She has led efforts to roll again authorities laws that damage job creators, battle the opioid epidemic, educate web security, fight home violence and make the workplace the highest regulation agency for Arkansans. Rutledge serves as co-chairs of the Nationwide Affiliation of Attorneys Basic Veterans Affairs Committee, re-established and co-chairs the Nationwide Affiliation of Attorneys Basic Committee on Agriculture and was the previous Chairwoman of the Nationwide Affiliation of Attorneys Basic Southern Area. As the previous Chairwoman of the Republican Attorneys Basic Affiliation, she stays lively on the Govt Board.
A local of Batesville, she is a graduate of the College of Arkansas at Fayetteville and the College of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen College of Legislation. Rutledge clerked for the Arkansas Courtroom of Appeals, was Deputy Counsel for former Governor Mike Huckabee, served as a Deputy Prosecuting Legal professional in Lonoke County and was an Legal professional on the Division of Human Companies earlier than serving as Counsel on the Republican Nationwide Committee. Rutledge and her husband, Boyce, have one daughter. The household has a house in Pulaski County and a farm in Crittenden County.