A federal judge ruled Wednesday that Walgreens “substantially contributed” to San Francisco’s opioid epidemic by failing to prevent misuse of the highly addictive painkillers, The Washington Post and San Francisco Chronicle report.
Walgreens handled nearly 1 in 5 oxycodone and hydrocodone pills distributed nationwide at the height of the opioid crisis. It was the only drug company sued by San Francisco that didn’t settle. The case went to trial in April.
“Walgreens has regulatory obligations to take reasonable steps to prevent the drugs from being diverted and harming the public,” U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer wrote in the ruling. “The evidence at trial established that Walgreens breached these obligations.” A later trial will determine how much Walgreens will have to pay the city. A Walgreens spokesperson said the company would appeal.