CVS, Walgreens, Walmart found liable in federal court for ‘fueling’ America’s opioid crisis

CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart pharmacies were found liable in federal court on Tuesday for helping fuel an opioid crisis in two Ohio counties.

The counties of Lake and Trumbell accused the three biggest pharmacy chains of selling and dispensing huge quantities of addictive prescription pain pills such as oxycodone and hydrocodone. The jury deliberated for six days in the U.S. District Court in Cleveland. Judge Dan Polster will decide how much the companies should pay the counties, which were each seeking upwards of $1 billion.

The three retail giants were found guilty of illegally creating an “oversupply” of opioid drugs in the Ohio counties of Lake and Trumbull by filling out high numbers of prescriptions. Between 2012 and 2016, pharmacies dispensed some 80 million pills in Trumbull County alone, amounting to around 400 per resident. Lake county saw similar numbers.

“The law requires pharmacies to be diligent in dealing drugs. This case should be a wake-up call that failure will not be accepted,” Mark Lanier, an attorney for the counties, said. “The jury sounded a bell that should be heard through all pharmacies in America,” he added.

All three parent companies, CVSHealth, Walgreen Co. and Walmart Inc., said they would appeal the decision. Lawyers for the defendants laid the blame on doctors, saying it was up to them to control how many pills were prescribed.

Walmart said in a statement that the counties had launched the lawsuit “in search of deep pockets while ignoring the real causes of the opioid crisis, such as pill mill doctors, illegal drugs, and regulators asleep at the switch and they wrongly claimed pharmacists must second-guess doctors in a way the law never intended and many federal and state health regulators say interferes with the doctor-patient relationship.”




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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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