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The Cincinnati-based retailer will pay the $47.5 million over 11 years.

Kroger owes Washington state $47.5M for role in opioid problem

Grocer “negligently” filled drug orders

Kroger will pay Washington state $47.5 million for its role in the opioid crisis, Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced Tuesday.

Ferguson filed the lawsuit in December 2022 accusing the grocer of “illegally, recklessly, and negligently filling opioid orders without adequately investigating ‘red flags’ of fraud or overprescribing.” The state AG also sued Albertsons and Rite Aid.

Kroger’s payment will be divided between the state and Washington city and county governments. Washington state has collected $1.29 billion due to the opioid epidemic.

The Cincinnati-based retailer will pay the $47.5 million over 11 years, with the first payment of $4.3 million due a few months after the resolution is finalized.

Back in February, the state of Kentucky sued Kroger for allegedly distributing hundreds of millions of opioid pills to residents without the appropriate safeguards.

Kentucky Attorney General Russell Coleman and the state’s lawsuit claims that between 2006 and 2019, Kroger and its more than 100 pharmacies in the state dispensed roughly 11% of all opioid pills. The lawsuit notes that during that time period, Kroger bought over 4 billion milligram equivalents of opioids in Kentuckyapproximately 444 million doses.

The company distributed hydrocodone pills to its pharmacies in Kentucky during that same period.

Filed in Bullitt Circuit Court, the lawsuit also claims that Kroger ignored real-time data that showed unusual prescribing patterns and suspicious orders, noting that despite red flags the grocer failed to report a single suspicious prescription between 2007 and 2014. 

In May 2023, the grocer paid a $68 million settlement to the state of West Virginia. 

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