The retail company Walmart filed a pre-emptive opioid epidemic lawsuit against the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) hoping to strike the government before it gets sued by.
According to the retail giant, the DOJ and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have no basis for suing pharmacy practices, which are used as scapegoats for the governments’ inability to fight against the opioid crisis.
Together with many state authorities, the federal agencies have filed civil actions against pharmacy retailers who filled questionable prescriptions, alleging the contributed to the widespread opioid epidemic.
Many of them have been hit by steep financial penalties, but Walmart argues that the government has no lawful basis for seeking civil damages from them.
In the lawsuit filed by the giant operating more than 5,000 in-store pharmacies, the DEA and its administrator Timothy Sea are named as defendants, together with the DOJ and Attorney General William Barr.
According to their allegations, DEA and DOJ are trying to impose pharmacies and pharmacists some impossible working restrictions retroactively.
The company argues that pharmacists face unacceptable legal and professional risks if they reject prescriptions, yet are federally liable whenever they fill them against the government’s new standards.
If a court will agree with them, the unusually aggressive tactic employed by Walmart can set a precedent which will be certainly used in future cases.
Walmart is just one of the many pharmacy retailers involved in the massive opioid litigation.
Many have been sued by state and local governments who accuse them of being a major cause in the ever-growing number of American citizens who died because of their opioid addiction.
Nearly 3,000 cases have eventually been consolidated in a federal court in Ohio, but in the last 3 years, no settlement has been reached despite the pressures of the Judge.