Bristol, Virginia $40M lawsuit adds pharmacies as defendants

Posted October 31st, 2019.

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Lurah Lowery | Bristol Herald Courier

A $40 million lawsuit filed by the city of Bristol, Virginia against 19 prescription opioid manufacturers, distributors, pharmacy benefit managers and related companies was amended Tuesday to include retail and mail order pharmacies.

Walmart Inc., ESI Mail Pharmacy Service Inc., Rite Aid Corp., Rite Aid of Virginia Inc., Rite Aid Mid-Atlantic, Rite Aid of Maryland Inc. and Eckerd Corp. were added to the suit.

The lawsuit, filed in March, accuses the defendants of creating a public health emergency caused by the overuse of prescription opioids.

Andrew Miller, an attorney with Sanford Heisler Sharp — one of three firms representing the city — said the pharmacies were added because they played an “important role” in creating the crisis and need to be held accountable.

The other defendants are Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals; Specgx LLC; Endo Health Solutions; Endo Pharmaceuticals; Par Pharmaceutical Companies; Teva Pharmaceuticals; Cephalon, Inc.; Barr Laboratories; Watson Laboratories; Actavis Pharma Inc.; Allergan PLC; Allergan Finance LLC; Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Mylan Institutional Inc.; Indivior Inc.; McKesson Corp.; McKesson Medical Surgical Inc.; Cardinal Health Inc.; Amerisourcebergen Drug Corp.; Henry Schein Inc.; General Injectables & Vaccines Inc.; Insource Inc.; CVS Health Corp.; CVS Pharmacy Inc.; CVS TN Distribution LLC; Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.; Walgreen Co.; Express Scripts Holding Co.; Express Scripts Inc.; Caremark RX LLC; CaremarkPCS Health LLC; Caremark LLC; CaremarkPCS LLC; United Health Group Inc.; Optum Inc.; and OptumRx Inc.

Purdue Pharmaceuticals and its related companies were dropped from the suit because the company declared bankruptcy in September, Miller said.

“We are required to pursue our clients’ claims against Purdue in bankruptcy court in New York, where Purdue filed for bankruptcy,” he said.

Abbott Laboratories, Abbvie Inc., Insys Therapeutics, KVK-Tech, Amneal Pharmaceuticals LLC, Impax Laboratories, Express Scripts Pharmacy Inc. and Virginia CVS Pharmacy were also dropped from the suit because information gathered since the original complaint was filed showed that their direct involvement in Bristol and the surrounding communities was limited, Miller said.

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