Tennessee’s AG Shifts His Focus to Opioid-Supplying Pharmacies –

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Tennessee's AG Shifts His Focus to Opioid-Supplying Pharmacies

Herbert Slatery files a lawsuit against the opioid donor Food City.

Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery has filed a lawsuit against Food City alleging the supermarket chain’s pharmacies “deliberately benefited from the opioid epidemic.” Slatery’s more than 200-page complaint, filed in the Knox County Circuit Court, alleged the chain sold “tens of millions of prescription opioids” in the state. According to the lawsuit, 23% of the opioids the company’s Tennessee pharmacies sold over an eight-year period between 2006 and 2014 came from a single location in Knoxville.

According to Slatery, the Knoxville store purchased more 30 milligrams of oxycodone from its primary supplier from October 2011 to January 2012 than all pharmacies in 38 states and Washington, DC bought amounts of opioids to people from other countries and far distant US states because of multiple overdoses in stores or in their parking lots. “

These suspicious business practices went unreported, and Food City even went so far as to develop a prescription savings card program that offered customers “discounts on opioids,” a policy to order as many opioids as one supplier would send to each store , and putting employees under pressure to increase opioid sales, ”the complaint said.

Photo by Dima Mukhin on Unsplash

The AG said that Food City “traded prescriptions for cash and ignored drug deals and drug-related crimes in pharmacy parking lots. [Its] Knoxville pharmacies stocked opiate prescriptions for customers in states [such] than Hawaii and three foreign countries. It has fueled the market for the most distracted and abused opioids, pushing its pharmacists to keep selling more, and ignoring the most alarming evidence – overdoses and illicit sales happening right outside the pharmacy door. “

The spokesman for Food City’s parent company, K-VA-T Food Stores Inc., Tammy Baumgardner, responded to the litigation that the company “will defend itself against the grossly false and unfair allegations in the lawsuit”. In addition, “some of their pharmacies had been dispensing large amounts of opioids, so the company signed up with independent accountants and experts to ensure their practices were in accordance with state and federal regulations … The attorney general unfortunately got on the statewide move under the lead Plaintiff’s Affiliate It is impossible to launch unsubstantiated attacks against pharmacies as no measurable progress has been made in efforts to hold manufacturers, distributors and doctors accountable. “

Slatery recently announced that Tennessee will receive $ 15.2 million from a deal with McKinsey & Co. for $ 573 million for its role in the opioid crisis. He has an ongoing legal battle with companies that his office claims contributed to the addiction crisis while making a profit, including opioid manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies. He begins this fight by filing lawsuits under the Tennessee Consumer Protections Act and the state’s public harassment laws in 2018.

Initially, Tennessee AG targeted Purdue Pharma. Then his office moved to Endo Pharmaceuticals in 2019 and sued AmerisourceBergen that same year. Now his focus has shifted to the role of pharmacies and focused on Food City, a plaintiff with annual sales of $ 2.5 billion and 130 stores in three states – Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky. The lawsuits, like many others filed in the United States, are designed to help the state fund addiction rehabilitation programs and reimburse the costs of fighting the epidemic.

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