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Department of Justice Files Lawsuit Against Walmart for role in Opioid Crisis

By: Shannon Persad January 20, 2021 no comments

Department of Justice Files Lawsuit Against Walmart for role in Opioid Crisis

Over the past five years, lawsuits have been filed against various pharmaceutical companies, with state attorneys accusing them of fueling the opioid crisis across the United States.

Lawmakers believe these companies abused the system, exacerbating the opioid epidemic. Purdue Pharma may be the first domino, as the company pleaded guilty last year, expected to pay billions.

In December 2020, the Department of Justice entered a lawsuit against Walmart, with several district attorneys leading the charge, including the Middle District of Florida.

Read on to find out more about the lawsuit, Florida’s role, and future Florida lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies. Also, how you can get help in Florida for substance abuse.

DOJ Lawsuit Against Walmart

The press release from the DOJ ahead of suing Walmart states:

“…The complaint alleges that, as the operator of its pharmacies, Walmart knowingly filled thousands of controlled substance prescriptions that were not issued for legitimate medical purposes or in the usual course of medical practice, and that it filled prescriptions outside the ordinary course of pharmacy practice.”

The DOJ believes Walmart violated the Controlled Substances Act, stating it may have fueled the opioid crisis in the United States.

However, with a new administration coming in January 2021, it is unclear if the lawsuit will continue.

Florida’s Role in DOJ Lawsuit Against Walmart

The press release also reveals several District Attorneys from different states and counties have entered the fray against Walmart, including the Middle District of Florida:

 “The opioid crisis has exacted a catastrophic human toll upon the residents of our district and upon our country,” said U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida Maria Chapa Lopez.  “National pharmacy chains must meet their legal obligations when dispensing and distributing these powerful medications. The filing of this complaint in collaboration with the Department of Justice and other United States Attorneys’ Offices demonstrates our firm commitment to enforcing these critical legal requirements.”

Pending Florida Action Against Other Pharmaceutical Companies

Florida has a trial date of October 2021 to sue other pharmaceutical companies, citing that these manufacturers may have fueled Florida’s opioid crisis.

The state has produced 8,000 documents, seeking unspecified damages from various distributors.

These manufacturers have denied these claims, including CVS and Walgreens, stating it is the doctor’s fault of those prescribing opioids, citing 500 anonymous doctors are to blame.

As a result, a complaint was filed. However, Florida’s Attorney General filed to dismiss the third-party complaint, stating CVS and Walgreens do not have enough evidence to support these claims.

The trial is expected to continue, and it may be promising for Florida because one of the defendants is Purdue Pharma, which plead guilty last November in 2020.

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