Walmart Sued By Justice Department Over Alleged Role In Opioid Crisis

Walmart Sued By Justice Department Over Alleged Role In Opioid Crisis

The U.S. Department of Justice hit Walmart Inc WMT with a lawsuit on Tuesday alleging that the retailer’s shortcomings led to a rise in the nation’s opioid crisis, according to the Wall Street Journal.

What Happened: In the lawsuit, the Justice Department said that Walmart’s short-staffed pharmacies were under pressure to fill up prescriptions quickly, which in turn led to the insufficient screening of prescriptions.

“Many of these prescription drugs would never have hit the streets if Walmart pharmacies had complied with their obligations,” Maria Chapa Lopez, one of the prosecutors in the case, said, as per the Journal.

Walmart denied the charges in its response to the litigation and blamed the "well-documented failures" of the Drug Enforcement Agency “in keeping bad doctors from prescribing opioids in the first place.”

Why Does It Matter: In one specific instance of a doctor from East Texas under federal scrutiny for violation of the Controlled Substances Act, around 14,700 illegitimate prescriptions, for roughly 1.5 million doses, were filled by Walmart pharmacies between 2014 and 2017, the government has alleged, as per WSJ.

In October, Walmart filed a pre-emptive lawsuit against the Justice Department and the DEA. At the time, the retail giant claimed that it is being targeted for the shortcomings of both the authorities in controlling the opioid crisis.

Price Action: WMT stock closed 1.21% lower at $144.20 on Tuesday.

Photo courtesy: Walmart via Flickr

Posted In: opioid crisispharmaceuticalsThe Wall Street JournalUS Department of JusticeNewsHealth CareLegalGeneral