A federal judge ruled that Walgreens can be held responsible for contributing to San Francisco's opioid crisis by for over-dispensing highly addictive drugs for years without proper oversight and failing to identify and report suspicious orders as required by law, CBS News reports. San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu said the pharmacy chain "continually violated what they were required to do under the federal Controlled Substances Act," failing to track op ioid prescriptions, preventing pharmacists from vetting prescriptions and not seeing "the many red flags of physicians and others who were dramatically over-prescribing." He said, "Pharmacists were pressured to fill, fill, fill, and as a result, Walgreens filled our streets with opioids."
U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer wrote that from 2006 to 2020, "Walgreens pharmacies in San Francisco dispensed hundreds of thousands of red flag opioid prescriptions without performing adequate due diligence. Tens of thousands of these prescriptions were written by doctors with suspect prescribing patterns. The evidence showed that Walgreens did not provide its pharmacists with sufficient time, staffing, or resources to perform due diligence on these prescriptions." He said the large volume of illegitimate opioid prescriptions contributed to the city's hospitals being overwhelmed with opioid patients, libraries being forced to close because of syringe-clogged toilets, and syringes littering children's playgrounds in San Francisco. Walgreens will appeal the ruling, saying, "We never manufactured or marketed opioids, nor did we distribute them to the 'pill mills' and internet pharmacies that fueled this crisis."