A jury in the state of Ohio decided on Tuesday that pharmacies owned from the chains Walmart, Walgreens plus CVS hold responsibility for the flooding of two areas with opioids.
The three retail giants were found guilty of unlawfully creating an “ oversupply” of opioid drugs within the Ohio counties of River and Trumbull by filling out high numbers of prescriptions.
The case could set a precedent meant for local authorities to take on drug vendors — not just manufacturers and prosecute them for his or her role in the addiction problems that has cost the lifestyles of over 500, 1000 people in the country in the past two decades.
A federal judge will rule on the fees and penalties to be paid by the businesses in the spring.
What role do pharmacies play in the opioid problems?
The criminal prosecution for the two counties involved blamed the three pharmacy stores for the flood of opioid medication that led to countless overdoses and cost the counties around $1 billion dollars (€ 890 million) each.
Between 2012 and 2016, pharmacies dispensed some 80 million pills in Trumbull county by itself, amounting to around 400 per resident. Lake county saw similar numbers.
“ The law requires pharmacies to be diligent in dealing drugs. This case should be a wake-up call that failing will not be accepted, ” Indicate Lanier, an attorney for the counties, said.
“ The jury sounded a bell that should be heard via all pharmacies in America, ” he added.
Tuesday’s decision marks the first time that pharmacy companies have got completed a trial. In other situations, companies have come to an agreement beforehand. Chains Rite Aid and Giant Bald eagle had already settled with all the same Ohio counties.
How did the particular parties respond?
All three parent businesses, CVSHealth, Walgreen Co. and Walmart Inc., said they will appeal the decision.
Lawyers for the defendants set the blame on physicians, saying it was up to these to control how many pills were prescribed.
Walmart said in a statement how the counties had launched the lawsuit “ in search of serious pockets while ignoring the actual causes of the opioid turmoil — such as pill generator doctors, illegal drugs, and regulators asleep at the switch — and they wrongly stated pharmacists must second-guess physicians in a way the law never meant and many federal and state health regulators say disrupts the doctor-patient relationship. ”
However , the girls of lawyers representing the particular counties hailed “ the milestone victory. ”
“ For decades, pharmacy chains have watched as the pills flowing out of their own doors cause harm and failed to take action as required by law, ” they said within a statement.
“ Instead, these companies responded simply by opening up more locations, water damage communities with pills, and facilitating the flow of opioids into an unlawful, secondary market. ”
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