WV Attorney General Sues Pharmacies
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrissey is taking the fight against the state’s opioid crisis to the street level by targeting individual pharmacies he believes have contributed to the problem. His office entered a lawsuit against Judy’s Drug Store Inc., of Petersburg in Grant County, contending it helped fuel the state’s crisis by dispensing nearly 1.8 million doses of hydrocodone and oxycodone, highly addictive painkillers, for a three-county region of fewer than 34,000 residents. The alleged conduct, occurring from 2010 to 2016, continued despite Judy’s Drug Store and several of its employees having paid $2 million to end a federal investigation in 2014. It involved allegations the business repeatedly filled prescriptions that had no legitimate medical purpose. The pharmacy purports to serve customers from Grant, Hardy and Pendleton counties.
The lawsuit, filed Thursday December 22nd in Hardy Circuit Court, comes two weeks after the AG office’s filing of similar allegations against Larry’s Drive-in Pharmacy of Madison in Boone County, which alleges it provided nearly 10 million doses of highly addictive prescription painkillers in just 11 years, all for a county with fewer than 25,000 residents, a volume far greater than the county’s 11 other retail pharmacies, including three operated by national chains. It claims the pharmacy failed to identify suspicious prescriptions or determine whether it is dispensing a suspicious number of pills.
The Attorney General said “Every participant in the supply chain must do its part to ensure proper use of these highly addictive drugs. Anything less places consumers at great risk of addiction and death, a devastating reality already experienced by far too many families and one that must end.”
The civil complaint charges in both instances include violations of the state’s Controlled Substance Act as well as its Consumer Protection and Credit Act, along with unfair methods of competition, negligence, unjust enrichment, creating a public nuisance and intentional acts and omissions. The Attorney General seeks civil penalties and punitive damages, along with an injunction.