Walmart Sued for Allegedly Filling Invalid Opioid Prescriptions

Walmart must decide how it will handle a class action filed against it late last month (January 2021) that alleges it knowingly filled countless invalid opioid prescriptions. The plaintiff class in the lawsuit have argued that Walmart’s actions could have substantially worsened the ongoing opioid epidemic. However, the actual complaint centers around the lost stock value that shareholders want back through the lawsuit’s potential winnings.

Walmart & Questionable Opioid Prescriptions

The lawsuit against Walmart alleges that the company tried to increase its revenue from its pharmacy departments by knowingly filling prescriptions, namely opiates, from doctors who had been blacklisted as part of a “pill mill.” A “pill mill doctor” is one who prescribes opioids to patients without due cause and for financial gain because Big Pharma companies will often pay a doctor a flat amount per prescription written. Furthermore, the class action alleges that Walmart managers and possibly other higher-ups put pharmacists under undue pressure to fill any prescription and to set aside any ethical concerns they might have had when a questionable prescription came in.

To back its arguments, the class action points to a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) report from December 2020 that made much of the same claims. When the DOJ report was released to the public, Walmart stock fell nearly 2% in value, which is where the consumer class comes in. Plaintiff shareholders say Walmart should be held accountable for the losses caused by the stock price drop, seemingly assuming that the allegations from the DOJ against the corporate giant are true.

Other Legal Troubles for Walmart

The class action forming against Walmart by shareholders for its alleged instrumentation in the opioid epidemic is not the only legal wrinkle to come from the situation. The DOJ itself filed a lawsuit against Walmart for allegedly violating the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) by instructing pharmacists to fill questionable or invalid prescriptions. The DOJ is seeking civil damages that could be used to fund drug recovery programs across the country.

Additionally, Walmart attempted to countersue the DOJ in October, but the legal effort recently fizzled. The corporation argued that the DOJ and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) violated legal ethics, defamed the company by blaming it for the opioid crisis, and effectively instructed Walmart pharmacists to make decisions for doctors and/or patients when they were only instructed and trained to fill prescriptions. U.S. District Judge Sean Jordan of Texas dismissed Walmart’s lawsuit, though, stating that the government agencies had not overstepped their boundaries in the case against Walmart. The preservation of the DOJ’s lawsuit could further fuel and validate the class action brought forth by the shareholders.

What’s Next for the Walmart Class Action?

The shareholders’ class action against Walmart is reportedly still gaining momentum and growing in size. Anyone who has lost finances due to the company’s allegedly questionable opioid prescription habits should consult with a class action law firm about possibly joining the lawsuit in pursuit of fair compensation. If the DOJ is successful in its case against Walmart, too, then it could open an opportunity for another class to form against the corporation by those immediately affected by the opioid crisis.

You can learn more about Walmart’s legal challenges regarding opioid prescriptions by clicking here and viewing an article from Reuters. To see if you can join a class action, reach out to Golomb & Honik, P.C. Our class action attorneys assist clients nationwide, so we can lend a hand and provide legal guidance no matter where you call home. Fill out an online contact form today to learn more.

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