Walmart says the Justice Department’s opioid epidemic lawsuit is ‘tainted by historical ethics violations’

walmart pharmacy signs
  • The Justice Department is suing Walmart, accusing the retailer of playing a role in the opioid epidemic.
  • Walmart through a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission responded to the suit “unlawfully forces pharmacists to come between patients and their doctors.”
  • The suit is a “transparent attempt to shift blame from DEA’s well-documented failures in keeping bad doctors from prescribing opioids in the first place,” Walmart said in an SEC filing.
  • The lawsuit alleges that Walmart pharmacies did not properly screen prescriptions, understaffed pharmacies, and pushed employees to fill prescriptions quickly.
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The Department of Justice’s is suing Walmart for its role in the opioid epidemic, The Wall Street Journal first reported, and Walmart just released a scathing response.

In a statement made through a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Walmart said the suit is “tainted by historical ethics violations.” It also said the suit “unlawfully forces pharmacists to come between patients and their doctors.” Walmart’s statement questions every aspect of the DOJ’s case, which it says is “riddled with factual inaccuracies and cherry-picked documents taken out of context.”

The DOJ lawsuit against the retail giant accuses Walmart of not properly screening prescriptions for opioids, understaffing pharmacies, and pushing employees to fill prescriptions quickly, all of which contributed to rising rates of addiction and abuse, WSJ reported.

The suit is a “transparent attempt to shift blame from DEA’s well-documented failures in keeping bad doctors from prescribing opioids in the first place,” Walmart said in its SEC filing.

Read more: Meet the autonomous-vehicle startup tapped by Walmart to help cut down delivery times for online customer orders

The suit is seeking billions of dollars in civil penalties, accusing Walmart of violating the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).Walmart preempted the suit in October, by suing the DOJ and Drug Enforcement Agency, claiming that the federal government was attempting to shift blame to the retailer for its own regulatory failures.

“In contrast to DEA’s own failures, Walmart always empowered our pharmacists to refuse to fill problematic opioids prescriptions, and they refused to fill hundreds of thousands of such prescriptions. Walmart sent DEA tens of thousands of investigative leads, and we blocked thousands of questionable doctors from having their opioid prescriptions filled at our pharmacies,” Walmart said.

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