Walgreens distances itself from other opioid trial defendants

Walgreens distanced itself from other defendants in the first federal opioid trial that was slated to start Monday.

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Drug companies Teva, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson reached a $260 million settlement to avoid going to trial in a case that sought to blame them for stoking the nationwide opioid crisis. Distributor Henry Schein struck a separate deal with Summit County, Ohio. The new plan is for Walgreens and other pharmacies to go to trial within six months.

"Walgreens is completely unlike the wholesalers involved in the national opioid litigation," the company said in a statement Monday. "Before 2014, Walgreens delivered opioid medications – among many other types of medications – only to our own pharmacies, staffed by our own pharmacy professionals."

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"We never sold opioid medications to pain clinics, internet pharmacies or the 'pill mills' that fueled the national opioid crisis," Walgreens continued.

U.S. District Court Judge Dan Polster presides over court proceedings in an opioid trial in Cleveland, Ohio, Monday, Oct. 21, 2019. (Sketch: Marlene Steele)

The company asserts that it was simply filling out prescriptions for the public, as required and as it normally does with various pharmaceuticals, and that it hasn't done anything wrong.

In its statement, the company added: "Walgreens never manufactured prescription opioid medications. We never marketed or promoted opioid medications. We never prescribed any opioid medications. Walgreens was not a wholesaler of opioid medications."

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FOX Business' Grady Trimble and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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