Attorney General for Kentucky Sues Kroger Over Opioids

(PatriotWise.com) — Kentucky Attorney General Russell Coleman filed a lawsuit against Kroger Co. on Monday, accusing the grocery store chain’s pharmacies of helping to fuel Kentucky’s opioid addiction crisis, the Associated Press reported.

In the lawsuit, filed in Bullitt County Circuit Court, Coleman accused Kroger’s more than 100 pharmacies in the state of being responsible for more than 11 percent of all prescription opioids dispensed in Kentucky between 2006 and 2019, amounting to hundreds of millions of pills flooding communities without reasonable safeguards.

The attorney general said in a February 12 statement that Kroger pharmacies flooded the state with an “unthinkable number of opioid pills,” which he argued led to pain, addiction, and death.

Kentucky has been hit hard by the nation’s opioid crisis, prompting several attorneys general from both parties to aggressively pursue legal action against companies that manufacture or dispense opioid medications. Attorney General Coleman, who took office in January, is continuing the trend by suing Kroger.

While overdose deaths in the state exceeded 2,000 in 2022, they were down slightly from the year before, according to Governor Andy Beshear. A key factor behind Kentucky’s high overdose fatality rate has been the increased use of the synthetic opioid fentanyl.

In his lawsuit, Coleman claimed that Kroger pharmacies failed to implement effective monitoring to prevent suspicious orders of opioid drugs. The attorney general argued that as a distributor and dispenser of medications, Kroger would have access to real-time data that could reveal any unusual prescribing patterns, and yet the chain failed to report any suspicious prescriptions in the state at all between 2007 and 2014.

Coleman said in the statement that the grocery store chain “knowingly” made opioid prescriptions “all too accessible” while failing to create “a formal system” or a “set of guidelines” on reporting “suspicious activity or abuse.”

According to the lawsuit, Kroger allegedly bought over 4 billion MMEs (morphine milligram equivalents) of opioid drugs for the state between 2006 and 2019. This amounted to roughly 444 million doses.

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