A federal jury in Cleveland, Ohio found on Nov. 23 that the corporations that own three large pharmacy-retail chains (CVS, Walmart, and Walgreens) are liable for the damage they have done to two counties in Ohio (Lake and Trumbull) via their role in the opioid addiction epidemic. The jury verdict pertains to liability only, not to the extent of damages, which the trial judge will determine this spring.
The two counties argued, successfully, that by facilitating the addiction the corporate defendants created a “public nuisance” with costs in terms of law enforcement, court expenses, and social services.
Lawyers for the plaintiff counties issued a statement: “For decades, pharmacy chains have watched as the pills flowing out of their doors cause harm and failed to take action as required by law.”
Two other chains, Rite Aid and Giant Eagle, were also defendants in this action earlier. Each of those reached a settlement with the counties. They each deny wrong-doing.
In Pill Form:
The defendants have issued statements criticizing the verdict and vowing an appeal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been 841,000 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. since 1999, and more than 70% of those involved opioids.