DOJ Sues Walmart for Allegedly Fueling Opioid Crisis
The retail chain faces billions of dollars in penalties from a lawsuit filed yesterday by the DOJ. But CHD’s Mary Holland says that because the action holds no individuals liable for criminal behavior, it’s unlikely to have much long-term impact.
By: Children’s Health Defense Team
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Tuesday sued Walmart for allegedly committing hundreds of thousands of violations of the Controlled Substances Act by unlawfully dispensing controlled substances throughout the height of the prescription opioid crisis.
The Justice Department seeks civil penalties — which could total in the billions of dollars — and injunctive relief, according to a statement issued yesterday.
“It is welcome news that the Department of Justice is taking this action against Walmart for its role in the opioid epidemic, especially as opioid overdose deaths are accelerating”
said Mary Holland, general counsel for Children’s Health Defense (CHD).
“Sadly, though, this case is too late for the more than 750,000 people in the U.S. who died of drug overdoses since 1999.”
Jeffrey Bossert Clark, the assistant attorney general of the DOJ’s Civil Division, said, “It has been a priority of this administration to hold accountable those responsible for the prescription opioid crisis. 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.”
But CHD’s Holland said that because the lawsuit seeks only monetary damages and holds no individuals liable for criminal behavior, it is unlikely to have much long-term impact.
“The pharmaceutical industry and its distributors and dispensers, like Walmart, likely will continue to engage in illegal but profitable activities as part of their business model until they bear true individual liability for wrongdoing,” Holland said.
In May 2020, the U.S. recorded the highest number of overdose deaths ever in any 12-month period, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The current pandemic has only made an already terrible situation worse,” Holland said.
The 169-page complaint filed Tuesday alleges that Walmart-owned pharmacies “knowingly filled thousands of controlled substance prescriptions that were not issued for legitimate medical purposes … and that it filled prescriptions outside the ordinary course of pharmacy practice.”
According to the DOJ, Walmart received “hundreds of thousands of suspicious orders that it failed to report” as required by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Together, the complaint alleges, these actions helped to fuel the prescription opioid crisis.
If Walmart is found liable for violating the CSA, it could face civil penalties of up to $67,627 for each unlawful prescription filled and $15,691 for each suspicious order not reported. The court also may award injunctive relief to prevent Walmart from committing further violations of the Controlled Substances Act, the DOJ said.
In a statement, Walmart said, in part:
“The Justice Department’s investigation is tainted by historical ethics violations, and this lawsuit invents a legal theory that unlawfully forces pharmacists to come between patients and their doctors, and is riddled with factual inaccuracies and cherry-picked documents taken out of context. Blaming pharmacists for not second-guessing the very doctors the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) approved to prescribe opioids is a transparent attempt to shift blame from DEA’s well-documented failures in keeping bad doctors from prescribing opioids in the first place.”
The action likely didn’t take the retail giant by surprise — the New York Times reported yesterday that the company had “preemptively denied the charges in October in a suit against the Trump administration, saying that the government was using the company as a scapegoat and blaming the opioid crisis on the federal government’s own weak enforcement.”
This article (DOJ Sues Walmart for Allegedly Fueling Opioid Crisis) was published on The Defender and is re-published here by ‘contribution’ with attribution to the author the Children’s Health Defense Team and website childrenshealthdefense.org/defender.
TLB Editors Note: TLB highly recommends you click on the image (the Defender) below, visit this great website, and do whatever you can to help see this vital forum succeed … for the sake of our children !!!
Sign up for free news and updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the Children’s Health Defense. CHD is planning many strategies, including legal, in an effort to defend the health of our children and obtain justice for those already injured. Your support is essential to CHD’s successful mission.
Stay tuned to …
The Liberty Beacon Project is now expanding at a near exponential rate, and for this we are grateful and excited! But we must also be practical. For 7 years we have not asked for any donations, and have built this project with our own funds as we grew. We are now experiencing ever increasing growing pains due to the large number of websites and projects we represent. So we have just installed donation buttons on our websites and ask that you consider this when you visit them. Nothing is too small. We thank you for all your support and your considerations … (TLB)
Comment Policy: As a privately owned web site, we reserve the right to remove comments that contain spam, advertising, vulgarity, threats of violence, racism, or personal/abusive attacks on other users. This also applies to trolling, the use of more than one alias, or just intentional mischief. Enforcement of this policy is at the discretion of this websites administrators. Repeat offenders may be blocked or permanently banned without prior warning.
Disclaimer: TLB websites contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, health, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.
Disclaimer: The information and opinions shared are for informational purposes only including, but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material are not intended as medical advice or instruction. Nothing mentioned is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.