Deadly Opioid Crisis: Justice Department Sues Walmart

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US Department of Justice sues Walmart


The US government is suing the largest US retailer for its role in the opioid crisis. The Justice Department said Walmart was accused of illegally selling addictive pain relievers, contributing to the devastating opioid epidemic in the United States. According to the justice department, the company could face fines running into billions.

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As one of the largest pharmacy chains and a wholesaler of pharmaceuticals, Walmart would have had the responsibility and also the means to fight against the spread of such preparations, argued the ministry. However, the company did the opposite – over the years, it had issued thousands of drugs despite invalid prescriptions and failed to report suspicious orders to the authorities.

Group rejects allegations

For its part, Walmart had already taken legal action against the US government at the end of October to clarify whether drug dealers could be held responsible. The company thus preempted the government’s lawsuit. The company argues that employees were only doing their duty, offering drugs that were prescribed to customers by doctors approved by the US authorities.

Walmart responded with violent criticism of the lawsuit and denied the allegations. The US drug enforcement agency DEA failed in the opioid crisis by failing to prevent doctors from improperly prescribing opioids. Now Walmart is being blamed. The lawsuit invented an incomprehensible legal theory and was full of factual inaccuracies.

Opioids are partly synthetically produced drugs with, among other things, pain-relieving properties. However, they also harbor an enormous risk of dependency and a high potential for abuse. The opioid epidemic in the US has resulted in more than 450,000 deaths since the turn of the millennium, according to the CDC. Walmart is not one of the pharmaceutical companies that is often blamed for the misery, but as a large drug dealer with many pharmacy counters, it has also long been criticized.


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