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Justice Department Sues Walmart, Alleging It Illegally Dispensed Opioids

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Walmart, alleging that the company's unlawful actions resulted in hundreds of thousands of violations of the Controlled Substances Act.
The Justice Department filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Walmart, alleging that the company's unlawful actions resulted in hundreds of thousands of violations of the Controlled Substances Act.

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Walmart on Tuesday, alleging that the retail giant unlawfully dispensed controlled substances from pharmacies it operated nationwide throughout the height of the prescription opioid crisis.

Damages in the civil case could total in the billions of dollars, the government said.

"As one of the largest pharmacy chains and wholesale drug distributors in the country, Walmart had the responsibility and the means to help prevent the diversion of prescription opioids," Jeffrey Bossert Clark, acting assistant attorney general of the Civil Division, said in a statement.

"Instead, for years, it did the opposite — filling thousands of invalid prescriptions at its pharmacies and failing to report suspicious orders of opioids and other drugs placed by those pharmacies," he added. "This unlawful conduct contributed to the epidemic of opioid abuse throughout the United States. Today's filing represents an important step in the effort to hold Walmart accountable for such conduct."

If the retailer is found liable in the case, it could face civil penalties of up to $67,627 for each unlawful prescription filled and $15,691 for each suspicious order not reported.

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