NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. (WFLA) — The state of Florida began its trial against the nation’s largest pharmacy chain on Monday, aiming to hold Walgreens responsible for helping create the opioid crisis.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said her office wants Walgreens to be held to account “for its role in helping create and fuel the deadly opioid crisis devastating Florida families and draining taxpayer-funded resources.”

Moody was in court Monday as the trial got underway with opening statements from attorney Jim Webster, who said Walgreens sold billions of opioids in Florida that never should have been sold,”

“Walgreens was the last line of defense in improperly distributing opioids,” said Webster. “The evidence will show that millions of times, Walgreens ignored its duty to investigate suspicious prescriptions. Instead, it filled them as quickly as possible.”

Moody’s office said Walgreens is the lone holdout in a campaign that has recovered more than $3 billion from manufacturers, distributors and pharmacies involved in the opioid crisis. Last week, another giant pharmacy chain, CVS, settled with the state for $484 million.

Walgreens fought back against Webster’s allegations in its own opening statement, arguing it was the state of Florida that did nothing and shifting the blame to drug manufacturers.

“They caused this epidemic by misrepresenting the risks and benefits to pharmacies,” Derringer said.

Attorneys said the trial could last anywhere from three to eight weeks.



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