Major community pharmacy chains sue doctors

CVS Health, Walgreens, Walmart, Rite Aid, and other major pharmacy chains have sued doctors across northeast Ohio, claiming that opioid prescribers bear responsibility for the prescription narcotic crisis.

CVS Health, Walgreens, Walmart, Rite Aid, and other major pharmacy chains have sued doctors across northeast Ohio, claiming that opioid prescribers bear responsibility for the prescription narcotic crisis. In legal papers filed Monday, they contended that doctors and other prescribers should have to pay some of any penalty resulting from federal opioid litigation should the chains be found liable at trial. "In a misguided hunt for deep pockets, without regard to actual fault or liability, plaintiff has elected not to sue any of these other parties," attorneys for community pharmacy chains said in the papers. More than 2,500 cities, counties, Native American tribes, and other groups have filed federal lawsuits against companies throughout the drug industry over the epidemic. Those cases have been consolidated in a sprawling "multidistrict litigation" before U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster in Cleveland. Alexandra Lahav, a professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law, said the companies may be signaling to Polster that if pharmacists are going to be held responsible for their dispensing activity, they will want to examine the prescribing habits of doctors across the two counties. "This is an illustration of how complex and maybe impossible it may be to prove the underlying claim that Cuyahoga County is trying to prove against these pharmacy chains," she said. "Are we going to question every time we dispensed a drug over a 20-year period?"