<p>Trump administration sues Walmart amid claims it helped fuel US opioid drug crisis</p>

Trump administration sues Walmart amid claims it helped fuel US opioid drug crisis


Trump administration sues Walmart amid claims it helped fuel US opioid drug crisis

Trump administration sues Walmart amid claims it helped fuel US opioid drug crisis

The Justice Department claims in its filing that the company contributed to the pain killer epidemic by ignoring repeated warnings from its own pharmacists.

The lawsuit claims that Walmart instead sought to boost its profits, understaffed its pharmacies and pressured workers to quickly fill prescriptions, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Company pharmacists were unable to question the authenticity of prescriptions, which resulted in widespread nationwide drug abuse, according to the lawsuit.

Walmart has reportedly been expecting the lawsuit and pre-emptively sued the federal government itself in October.

In its own lawsuit the company accused the Justice Department and Drug Enforcement Administration of trying to make it a scapegoat for the federal government’s failings on the issue.

Now the government claims in its filing that Walmart offered cut-price opioids in its 5,000 stores to attract customers.

Top executives then allegedly pressured middle managers to get pharmacists to quickly fill the prescriptions so customers would remain in the stores and continue to shop.

Prosecutors say that it was difficult for pharmacists to reject prescriptions from doctors who were oversubscribing the highly-addictive painkillers.

And when they did customers would simply go to another Walmart store to have the prescription filled.

“Rather than analysing the refusal-to-fill reports, the compliance unit viewed ‘driving sales and patient awareness’ as ‘a far better use of our Market Directors and Market Manager’s time,’” said the Justice Department quoting a Walmart compliance director.

“Given the nationwide scale of those violations, Walmart’s failures to follow basic legal rules helped fuel a national crisis.”

There were around 50,000 fatal overdoses caused by opioids in the US in 2019, according to federal data.


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