Home WORLD AMERICA Opiate crisis: Walmart, Walgreens and CVS ordered to pay US$650.6 million

Opiate crisis: Walmart, Walgreens and CVS ordered to pay US$650.6 million

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650.6million dollars”,”text”:”A federal judge sentenced [ces trois entreprises] payable650.6million dollars”}}”>A federal judge sentenced [ces trois entreprises] to pay $650.6 millionin total, to Lake and Trumbull counties, Ohio, the law firm that defended the two counties, The Lanier Law Firm, said in a statement.

This amount will allow fund education and prevention programs and reimburse agencies and organizations for costs incurred in managing the crisishe added.

Walmart announced in a statement its intention to appeal, denouncing a lawsuit riddled with legal and factual errors.

The three retail giants in the United States, which had massively distributed painkillers in these two counties, were found guilty in November.

Lawyers in two counties in Ohio had managed to convince the jury that the massive presence of opiates was indeed a public nuisance and that the pharmacies had participated in it by ignoring, for years, warning signs about suspicious orders.

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County officials simply wanted to be compensated for the burden of a drug epidemic supported by corporate greed, negligence and lack of accountability by these pharmaceutical chainscommented their lawyer, Mark Lanier, quoted in the press release.

Comply with doctors’ prescriptions

Pharmacy chains believe that pharmacists are simply fulfilling legal prescriptions written by doctors, who prescribe substances approved by health authorities.

Some parties had reached agreements with Lake and Trumbull counties to end the lawsuits in exchange for financial payments. This is the case of the pharmacy chains Rite Aid and Giant Eagle.

It was the first time that drug distributors, and not producers, were held responsible in this health crisis that has caused more than 500,000 overdose deaths in 20 years in the United States, which has resulted in a myriad of procedures launched by communities.

Conviction of opiate producers based on public nuisance laws, however, has suffered setbacks in California and Oklahoma.

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Last summer, CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid and Walmart agreed to pay a total of US$26 million to two counties in New York State.

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