The battle against the opioid crisis continues, and now a major American company is in the line of fire. Unlike Purdue Pharmaceuticals, this one is a little more complicated of an issue and not as clear-cut.
The company under fire now is Walmart – the massive US retailer that everyone has visited at some point or another. They operate one of the largest and best-known pharmacies in America, and they are the source for millions of filled prescriptions; opioids and otherwise.
Here’s Where Things Get Complicated
Since 2016, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has been looking into the practices of management pushing Walmart pharmacy employees to handle prescriptions faster. In some cases, lowering the number of employees in these departments. It’s been basically a fast-food restaurant approach, but because of this pressure, it can be difficult to screen out pill mill activity or catch fraudulent prescriptions.
The suit filed against Walmart alleges that they knew about these violations but did not report them to the proper authorities. And, thus, the thinking is the opioid crisis became widespread so easily because of Walmart’s (and other companies) willingness to fill prescriptions without true attention to their validity. And, even if one company or location spotted bad prescriptions coming in, it would be easy for someone to find a different location that was willing to fill the prescription.
Walmart has claimed, among other things, that they did report suspicious activity. They’ve even gone so far as to file their own suit in response to the DOJ.
According to Walmart, some 70% of physicians known to write bad prescriptions are still registered with the DEA. It is because of these doctors that Walmart is making the argument that they are not at fault when the prescriptions are coming in from approved sources.
The upshot and ultimate issue is that there are way too many people dying from opioid use and addiction and that it is still far too easy for people to get ahold of these dangerous drugs. The problem is systemic up and down the supply chain, making innocent people in pain easily exploitable or placing them in the horrible position of being prescribed a pain medication that could ultimately put their life at risk.
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