Rite Aid Corp is preparing to file for bankruptcy in coming weeks to address lawsuits the company is facing over its alleged role in the sale of opioids, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the plan.
Shares of the pharmacy retail chain operator fell 35% to 94 cents in afternoon trade.
The Chapter 11 filing would cover Rite Aid’s more than $3.3 billion debt load and pending legal allegations that it oversupplied prescription painkillers, the newspaper reported.
Rite Aid did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
Regionally focused Rite Aid operates more than 2,330 stores in 17 U.S. states, although it is much smaller than rivals like Walgreens Boots Alliance and CVS Health.
Along with other pharmacy chains, Rite Aid 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 United States since 1999, with opioids playing an outsized role, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.