Today, Kentucky is one of the states reporting one of the highest numbers of opioid-related deaths and opioid addiction levels. At the same time, the state has one of the highest opioid prescription levels at 79 prescriptions every 100 people.
Taking these numbers into account, it does not come as a surprise that last week, the Attorney General of Kentucky, Daniel Cameron, filed a lawsuit against CVS Health, one of the largest American healthcare companies and owner of CVS pharmacies.
The Kentucky attorney general sued the company accusing it of contributing to the state’s whopping addiction levels to opioids by providing increasingly high levels of prescriptions to the population.
The lawsuit, which was filed against the pharmacy chain in Franklin County Court in the state’s capital city, is a formal accusation that the company is actively fueling the opioid addiction crisis that is sweeping the country. CVS Health has been indeed releasing millions of extremely strong prescription painkillers containing opioids. The main aim of the lawsuit is to obtain civil penalties and punitive damages.
The Attorney General of Kentucky, Daniel Cameron, also mentions that CVS is a distributor of medications and pharmacies, which causes it to be in an important position of power when it comes down to monitoring and stopping people from gaining access to addictive substances. According to the Attorney General’s words, CVS Health would have ignored their own “safeguard systems.”
As it stands, the lawsuit launched by Attorney General Cameron is just the latest legal action taken against a number of various companies accused of aiding the spread of prescription pills addiction in the state. And, there is no denying that the state has, in fact, been battling with record levels of addiction for years.
In Kentucky, drug overdoses accounted for over half of accidental deaths state-wise just in 2015. The rapid increase in addiction levels over the past years has caused the Attorney General to start a fierce battle against the major distributors and manufacturers of opioids in the state. However, Attorney General Cameron is only picking up the mission that once belonged to his predecessor, Andy Beshear, who initially filed many suits regarding the opioid crisis.
On the other side, the response of CVS Health came through promptly. The healthcare company reports being ready to defend itself and bases its defense on the fact that they are a pharmacy chain.
According to CVS health’s stance, the fault for the high levels of opioids circulating the state is of drug manufacturers, not distributors such as pharmacies. This is because manufacturers tend to incentivize physicians who prescribe opioids to their patients. In turn, CVS Health says that it is the physician’s responsibility to grant their patients with appropriate prescriptions.
So, the number of opioids in circulation continues to rise, and CVS Health does play a role in distributing it to the public. As many more people become involved and ask for the compensation they deserve, finding legal support and representation in opioid litigation has become essential.
While the lawsuit’s settlement is still far off, there is a lot that needs to be done to address the opioid addiction that is still more present than ever.