A US federal court in Cleveland, Ohio, found a chain of pharmacies owned by the American company Walmart, the owner of the world’s largest chain of wholesale and retail stores, guilty of the opioid crisis in the country. On the decision of the court reported TV channel NBC News.
A Cleveland court ruled that Walmart, CVS and Walgreens, have irresponsibly distributed massive volumes of opioid-based pain medications in at least two counties in Ohio. This led to a real epidemic among residents of the regions who took painkillers as narcotic drugs. The court also acknowledged that this led to numerous deaths of citizens from drug overdose, and also brought losses to the districts in the amount of approximately one billion dollars (74.5 billion rubles).
The counties were also able to prove to the court that the sale of drugs containing narcotic substances in Walmart pharmacy chains aggravated the opioid crisis in the United States and created a danger to society. In Trumbull County, for example, about 80 million prescription pills were sold between 2012 and 2016 (thus 400 pills per resident). In Lake County, about 61 million tablets were sold during the same period.
Due to weak US control over the distribution of opioid analgesics and insufficient punishment by pharmacists themselves, the consumption of such drugs has increased dramatically. According to US departments, between 1999 and 2017, about 700,000 people died from opioid overdose in the country.
Pharmacy chain Walmart has denied the allegations, saying the company has taken all necessary measures to control the circulation of painkillers. At the same time, representatives of the CVS pharmacy network stated that they strongly disagree with the verdict and will appeal the court’s decision.
Previously, only pharmaceutical companies were found guilty of the opioid epidemic in the United States. The court issued the first such verdict in relation to drugstore chains owned by private companies. The final decision on possible fines and compensation in connection with the activities of the Walmart, CVS and Walgreens pharmacy chains in Ohio will be issued by the Cleveland court in the spring of 2022.
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