Drug Retailer Rite Aid Files for Bankruptcy Protection

Oct 15 (Reuters) – Rite Aid Corp RAD.N filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Sunday, as it comes under pressure from lawsuits alleging that the drugstore chain helped fuel the opioid crisis in the United States.

Rite Aid listed estimated assets and liabilities in the range of $1 billion to $10 billion in a court filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based Rite Aid operates more than 2,000 retail stores across 17 states in the U.S., although it is much smaller than its rivals such as Walgreens Boots Alliance WBA.O and CVS Health CVS.N.

Along with other pharmacy chains, it has been named a defendant in lawsuits that alleged they helped fuel the opioid crisis in the United States.

The U.S. Department of Justice in March sued Rite Aid, accusing the pharmacy chain of missing “red flags” as it illegally filled hundreds of thousands of prescriptions for controlled substances, including opioids.

More than 900,000 people have died of drug overdoses in the U.S. since 1999, with opioids playing an outsized role, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.