The complaint, filed in federal court in Cleveland, contends that chains including CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens sold millions of painkillers in small communities, but did not alert authorities about suspicious orders.
According to the filing, the pharmacy chains offered bonuses for pharmacists who dispensed large amounts of opioids and worked directly with drug manufacturers to promote the drugs as safe and effective.
One example given in the filing was the town of Painesville, Ohio, with 19,524 residents. The local Rite Aid sold over 4.2 million doses of oxycodone and hydrocodone between 2006 and 2014. The national chain offered bonuses to stores with the highest productivity.
Heroin & the Opioid Epidemic: From Understanding to Action
Heroin and other opioids are ravaging communities across America. Heroin-related deaths increased by more than five times between 2010 and 2017, and drug deaths from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are seeing a sharp rise as well.