The US Department of Justice is suing Walmart Inc., accusing the company of helping fuel the opioid crisis through its pharmacies and ignoring warnings about their practices.
According to the complaint filed in the US District Court in Delaware, Walmart irresponsibly distributed highly addictive pain relievers through its various in-store pharmacies.
The lawsuit also accused the company of exerting “enormous pressure” on pharmacists to fill a high volume of prescriptions “while denying them the power to categorically refuse to fill prescriptions issued by prescribers whose pharmacists knew they were continually dispensing invalid prescriptions. . “
Walmart operates more than 5,000 drugstores in the United States.
The Justice Department’s lawsuit is the latest move in an ongoing battle with Walmart, as the retailer filed its own lawsuit in October asking a judge to state that the government has no legal basis to ask them for sanctions. financial statements based on investigations alleging questionable prescriptions. met, stating that the responsibility lies not with them but with government regulators.
In their lawsuit, Walmart claimed the Justice Department identified hundreds of doctors in a 2016 investigation who wrote questionable prescriptions filled by pharmacists at Walmart, but many of those doctors still have active records.
“In other words, the defendants want to blame Walmart for continuing to fill supposedly bad prescriptions written by doctors that the DEA and state regulators allowed to write those prescriptions in the first place and continue to do so.” stand up today, ”the company said.
The lawsuit also claims that the Justice Department wants to impose “unfeasible conditions” on pharmacists and pharmacies “that are not in any law”.
Opioid overdoses hit an all-time high in 2019 with an estimated 50,000 deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reported this week that overdose and drug abuse rates are on the rise this year, in part due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
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