Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III recently filed a lawsuit in Knox County Circuit Court against Food City Supermarkets, LLC and K-VA-T Food Stores.
The lawsuit alleges Food City pharmacies unlawfully sold tens of millions of prescription opioids, in particular, immediate release oxycodone 30mg (Oxy 30), for more than a decade and intentionally profited from the opioid epidemic.
The lawsuit claims Food City created a common law public nuisance by endangering the health of Tennessee residents and interfering with the commercial marketplace and violated both Tennessee’s public nuisance statute at three Knoxville-area stores and the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act.
“Food City made a lot of money from filling opioid prescriptions. In itself, that’s not a problem. The problem is how they did it.” Slatery said. “The company knew its customers were addicted. It knew the pill mills writing the prescriptions were some of the worst actors at any level of the opioid crisis. But Food City did virtually nothing that would disturb that income stream. It stoked the market with the most diverted and abused opioids, pushed its pharmacists to sell more and more, and ignored the most alarming evidence – overdoses and illegal sales taking place right outside the pharmacy door.”
The state has filed previous lawsuits against companies for opioid-related misconduct.