January 4, 2021

The Department of Justice Sues Walmart Over Role in Opioid Crisis

The Department of Justice filed a nationwide suit against Walmart, Inc. for violations of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), alleging that the company unlawfully dispensed and distributed prescription opioids.

Citing Walmart’s role as one of the largest pharmacy chains and wholesale drug distributors in the country, the Justice Department alleges Walmart had the responsibility and means to prevent opioid diversion, instead choosing to fill thousands of invalid prescriptions without legitimate medical purposes, and failing to report hundreds of thousands of suspicious prescriptions, contributing to the opioid epidemic.

The Justice Department seeks civil penalties. 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, potentially totaling billions of dollars. The court also may award injunctive relief to prevent Walmart from committing further CSA violations.

This lawsuit is the result of a multi-year investigation by the Department’s Prescription Interdiction & Litigation Task Force.

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