“Walgreens has a regulatory obligation to take reasonable steps to prevent recreational drugs from harming the public,” Breyer said. “Evidence at trial showed that Walgreens breached these obligations.”
A trial will then be held to determine how much the company must pay the city to offset the damages of the opioid crisis.
Walgreens spokesman Fraser Engerman said the company was “disappointed” by the decision and would appeal.
“As we have said throughout this time, we have never manufactured or sold opioids or distributed them to the ‘pill mills’ and internet pharmacies that have fueled this crisis,” he said. “We stand behind the professionalism and integrity of our pharmacists and the dedicated health workers in the communities they serve.”
Peter Mougey, an attorney representing San Francisco and other communities around the country fighting drug cartels, said the ruling will help other cases.
“Walgreens has concealed, covered up and avoided the truth throughout this five-year lawsuit,” he said. “Walgreens knew it didn’t have a system in place to detect and stop suspicious orders, but it continued to ship opioids at an alarming rate to maximize profits. San Francisco is now one step closer to starting the healing process.”
The decision comes after the company settled with the state of Florida for $683 million in May, ending a state court case. in November, A jury in Ohio found that the company, along with CVS and Walmart, contributed to the opioid crisis in two states. — the first such decision in pharmacy business.
This story is evolving and will be updated.
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