Opioid lawsuits: $ 650 million fine for Walmart & Co. | free press

Almost half a million deaths within two decades: The opioid epidemic in the USA cost many lives. Manufacturers and wholesalers are now coming under increasing pressure.

Cleveland.

Walmart, CVS and Walgreens have been ordered to pay a total of $650 million in a landmark US opioid lawsuit. The responsible federal judge ruled in Cleveland that the corporations must contribute to the costs of overcoming the drug crisis in Ohio. A jury in November blamed Walmart, CVS and Walgreens for the state’s opioid crisis because their chain stores allegedly failed to adequately control the sale of addictive painkillers.

Two counties in Ohio had sued. They are demanding billions of dollars in compensation from the corporations for costs they have incurred in the fight against opioid addiction and overdoses. However, the judge saw only a partial blame on Walmart, CVS and Walgreens and therefore ordered only a relatively small contribution from the companies to the total costs – to be paid over 15 years. The companies have already announced an appeal. They claim to have sold pills prescribed by doctors. The proceedings have a signal effect for many similar US lawsuits.

Opioids are partly synthetically manufactured drugs with, among other things, pain-relieving properties. However, they also harbor enormous risks of dependency and high potential for abuse. According to the CDC, the opioid epidemic has killed nearly half a million people in the United States over the past two decades. Most US lawsuits are directed against manufacturers and wholesalers of painkillers – above all the now insolvent Oxycontin maker Purdue Pharma. But even operators of large pharmacy chains are now under a lot of legal pressure. (dpa)

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