THURSDAY, May 28, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Large pharmacy chains, including CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Giant Eagle, and those operated by Walmart, played a role in the U.S. opioid epidemic, alleges a lawsuit filed in federal court in Cleveland by two Ohio counties.

The lawsuit charges that the chains sold millions of pills in small communities, gave bonuses to pharmacists who sold large amounts of prescription opioids, and partnered with drug makers to promote the drugs as safe and effective, The New York Times reported.

Only CVS responded to a request for comment. “Opioids are made and marketed by drug manufacturers, not pharmacists. Pharmacists dispense opioid prescriptions written by a licensed physician for a legitimate medical need,” CVS said in a statement to The Times. The other companies have issued similar statements in the past, according to the newspaper.

Drug makers and distributors have been the main focus of the thousands of lawsuits launched in relation to the U.S. opioid crisis, but few legal cases against large pharmacy chains have advanced, The Times reported.

The New York Times Article

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