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Kentucky sues Walgreens, accusing company of helping fuel opioid crisis

Kentucky's attorney general sued Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. over what the state alleges is the company's dual role as a distributor and a pharmacy in fueling the opioid crisis by flooding the state with prescription painkillers.

The complaint, filed June 14 by Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear in the Boone Circuit Court, accuses the company of failing to legally monitor its own operations that shipped and dispensed large quantities of opioids through its more than 70 locations across the state.

The lawsuit accuses the company of using unfair, misleading and deceptive business practices for excessively distributing prescription painkillers.

"While Walgreens' slogan was 'at the corner of happy and healthy,' they have significantly harmed the health of our families in fueling the opioid epidemic," Beshear charged in a statement.

This is the sixth opioid-related suit Beshear has filed. He has previously sued drug distributors AmerisourceBergen Corp., Cardinal Health Inc. and McKesson Corp. as well as drugmakers such as Johnson & Johnson.

Several other states have taken similar legal actions against drugmakers and distributors including Utah, Arkansas, South Dakota, New Mexico, Mississippi, Ohio, Missouri, Oklahoma, New Hampshire and South Carolina as well as several cities and counties.

A spokesman for Illinois-based Walgreens declined to provide a comment to S&P Global Market Intelligence because the matter is the subject of pending litigation.