Walmart has filed a lawsuit against the government to forestall allegations that its pharmacies fueled the American opioid crisis.
The nation’s largest retailer said the US Department of Justice threatened to sue the company over claims that its pharmacists were not allowed to fill out otherwise valid prescriptions for opioid drugs.
But Walmart filed its own complaint Thursday accusing the government of putting pharmacists “between the proverbial” rocks and a tough place “by urging them to interfere in doctor-patient relationships, which to led to a review by the state health authorities.
“Walmart and our pharmacists are torn between the requirements [the Drug Enforcement Administration] on the one hand and health and regulatory agencies on the other, and patients are trapped in the middle, ”explains the Arkansas-based company that operates more than 5,000 pharmacies in the United States. said in a statement.
The lawsuit against the Department of Justice and the DEA called on a Texas federal court to issue a statement limiting pharmacists’ legal liability for filling out prescriptions under the Controlled Substances Act. The law does not require them to “question” doctors’ prescribing decisions.
The lawsuit comes amid government efforts to hold large corporations accountable for the near-deadly opioid overdose epidemic 450,000 people from 1999 to 2018.
Walmart’s complaint came a day after the Justice Department announced one comprehensive agreement with Purdue Pharma As a result, the bankrupt OxyContin manufacturer will plead guilty to three criminal charges.
Walmart says the government plans to bring a civil lawsuit against the company based on prescriptions its pharmacists filled out for doctors whose writings should supposedly have been rejected across the board. But nearly 70 percent of the supposedly problematic doctors that authorities have identified still have prescribing rights from the DEA, according to Walmart’s lawsuit.
The Texas Attorney’s Office began investigating Walmart in December 2016 and told the company it would be charged with opioid concerns in spring 2018, the complaint said. The Justice Department eventually declined to prosecute the company in August 2018, but a civil investigation continued, according to the lawsuit.
The Justice Department and the DEA declined to comment. Walmart shares fell 0.1 percent to $ 143.34 at 11:47 a.m. on Friday.
With postal wires