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As jockeying in the opioid litigation continues, a U.S. appeals court ruled several large pharmacy chains will not have to face allegations in so-called bellwether cases that they contributed to the opioid crisis by dispensing the addictive painkillers.

The ruling is a victory for such retailers as CVS (CVS), Walgreens (WBA), and Rite-Aid (RAD), which had argued that a federal district court incorrectly allowed two Ohio counties to pass a deadline and pursue the accusations. As a result, the pharmacies potentially face less liability. A bellwether case, by the way, is a trial that tests different arguments in order to move litigation forward.


A Walgreens spokesman wrote us that the company was pleased with the ruling. “Walgreens never manufactured or marketed any opioid medications. Our pharmacists only dispensed FDA-approved opioid medications when presented with a prescription written by a physician with a valid DEA license for a legitimate medical need.”

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