Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has launched an investigation into retail giant Walmart to determine whether or not it filled prescriptions improperly and failed to report suspicious prescriptions for opioid drugs.
According to Paxton, he filed a Civil Investigative Demand that requires extensive documentation from the company, including records going back to 2006, at a time when it was required to report opioid prescription sales to the Drug Enforcement Agency as well as Texas state agencies.
A news release on his website also said that Paxton is investigating potential violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
Paxton said he is fighting for Texans who have been tragically impacted by the illegal marketing and sale of opioids, which have caused addiction and the untimely deaths of thousands of people each year.
“I am committed to holding pharmacies accountable if they played a role in this devastating epidemic,” said Paxton.
Walmart, for its part, said that it will comply with the demand, but remains certain that its pharmacies in Texas have done nothing wrong in this regard.
In a statement to Fox News, the retail giant said that it has never manufactured, marketed or promoted opioids because its pharmacists aren’t doctors and don’t write opioid prescriptions.
“We are confident in our record helping fight the opioid crisis, and we are proud of our pharmacists, who help patients understand the risks of opioid prescriptions and have refused to fill hundreds of thousands of opioid prescriptions they thought could be problematic,” the statement said.
The company also mentioned that, if anything, it has been called “too aggressive” when it comes to rejecting opioid prescriptions, pointing out that many health regulators, including the Texas Medical Board, other medical groups, doctors and patients have said that Walmart has gone too far in refusing to refill opioid prescriptions and have been told that they have improperly interfered with doctor-patient relationships. (Related: Big Pharma’s addictive opioids are causing the ruination of society.)
“Walmart and our pharmacists are torn between the demands on pharmacists imposed by opioids plaintiffs on one side and health agencies and regulators on the other, and patients are caught in the middle,” the company said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that opioids, whether prescribed or illicit, have claimed the lives of over 564,000 people from 1999 to 2020. There had also been 91.799 drug overdoses in 2022 alone, 75 percent of which involved an opioid.
Walmart, other retailers subject of federal lawsuit on suspicious opioid orders
Other reports also said that Walmart is currently the subject of a federal lawsuit over the method in which it reports what the federal government termed “suspicious opioid orders.”
The said lawsuit, however, was put on hold until after the court has decided on a case involving two doctors who had been convicted of misusing their medical licenses in filling opioid prescriptions.
The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the doctors earlier in the week, clearing the way for the resumption of Walmart’s federal civil cases in July.
Walmart, CVS and Walgreens have all been found liable for contributing to the opioid crisis in two Ohio counties in November 2021. However, a ruling on the damages the companies must pay has not yet been issued — a federal judge will later decide how much the three pharmacies must pay in damages to the counties involved. (Related: No good reason for the opioid epidemic: Clinical trial showed no “significant difference” in pain relief for treating arm or leg pain using opioids vs non-opioids.)
Adam Zimmerman, who teaches mass litigation at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, said at the time that it was the first opioid trial against the three “major household name” companies, all of which had been the least willing group of defendants to settle the case.
“This verdict is at least a small sign to them that these cases won’t necessarily play out well in front of juries,” Zimmerman said.
The decision could also prompt pharmacy defendants to opt for settlement instead of a trial and the companies have already said that they will appeal the verdict.
Watch the video below for more information about the Walmart investigations.
This video is from the RandomMedia channel on Brighteon.com.
More related stories: