Daily US Times: The US Department of Justice has accused Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, of helping to fuel America’s opioid crisis.
In a lawsuit filed on Tuesday and prosecutors said the company filled hundreds of thousands of questionable prescriptions, “knowingly” violating vetting rules.
In October, Walmart revealed that it had been threatened with such a suit.
At the time, the retail giant said the US was imposing “unworkable requirements that are not found in any law”.
Walmart operates more than 5,000 pharmacies at its stores across the US and for years has also acted as a drug distributor.
According to the lawsuit, Walmart pressured staff to fill prescriptions as fast as possible and withheld information from pharmacists, collected by its compliance unit, which indicated such orders did not have valid medical purposes.
The acting assistant attorney general of the Department of Justice’s civil division said Walmart’s actions “contributed to the epidemic of opioid abuse throughout the United States”.
“As one of the largest pharmacy chains and wholesale drug distributors in the country, Walmart had the responsibility and the means to help prevent the diversion of prescription opioids,”, Jeffrey Bossert Clark said.
Prosecutors said the company “substantially benefited” from its actions, and their actions helped to fuel the country’s opioid crisis.
The government is seeking financial penalties from the company for the alleged misconduct, which it said dated to 2013. The government said the fines could amount to “billions of dollars”.