Breaking News
Investing Pro 0
Cyber Monday SALE: Up to 54% OFF InvestingPro+ CLAIM OFFER

Pharmacy operators Walmart, Walgreens, Kroger begin opioid trial in New Mexico

Stock Markets Sep 06, 2022 06:06PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
3/3 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Tablets of the opioid-based Hydrocodone at a pharmacy in Portsmouth, Ohio, June 21, 2017. REUTERS/Bryan Woolston/File Photo 2/3
 
WMT
+0.29%
Add to/Remove from Watchlist
Add to Watchlist
Add Position

Position added successfully to:

Please name your holdings portfolio
 
KR
-0.43%
Add to/Remove from Watchlist
Add to Watchlist
Add Position

Position added successfully to:

Please name your holdings portfolio
 
CVS
-0.84%
Add to/Remove from Watchlist
Add to Watchlist
Add Position

Position added successfully to:

Please name your holdings portfolio
 
WBA
-2.04%
Add to/Remove from Watchlist
Add to Watchlist
Add Position

Position added successfully to:

Please name your holdings portfolio
 

(Adds detail from attorney for state)

By Brendan Pierson

(Reuters) -U.S. pharmacy operators Walgreens Boots Alliance (NASDAQ:WBA), Walmart (NYSE:WMT) Inc and Kroger (NYSE:KR) Co on Tuesday faced off against the state of New Mexico in the latest trial over their alleged role in the U.S. opioid epidemic, following recent high-profile losses for pharmacies in other lawsuits.

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas, in his opening statement, argued that the pharmacies were supposed to act as a "dam" against a flood of illegitimate opioid prescriptions by refusing to fill prescriptions with "red flags" that signaled abuse.

"The defendants had a legal duty, I believe, to hold back the flood and protect New Mexicans from harm," he told Judge Francis Matthew, who is presiding over the non-jury trial in the 1st Judicial Circuit of New Mexico in Santa Fe.

Dan Alberstone, another lawyer for the state, said the three companies had dispensed more than 550 million opioid pills in New Mexico from 2006 to 2019 - more than 263 for every person in the state.

John Majors, a lawyer for Walmart who delivered an opening statement in defense of all three companies, countered that pharmacists must exercise their "professional judgment" rather than relying on "mechanical application of red flags."

He said that the state would not be able to prove that pharmacists "knowingly" filled any illegitimate prescriptions.

Reuters watched the opening statements via Courtroom View Network.

The U.S. opioid epidemic has caused more than 500,000 overdose deaths over two decades, according to government data. More than 3,300 lawsuits have been filed, mostly by local governments, accusing drugmakers, distributors and pharmacy chains of fueling the crisis.

Major drugmakers and distributors have collectively agreed to pay billions of dollars to settle opioid cases against them, but pharmacies have held out.

Only two cases against pharmacies have been tried to a verdict.

One, brought by two Ohio counties, resulted in a jury verdict against Walgreens, Walmart and CVS Health Corp (NYSE:CVS) last year, and a judgment of more than $650 million last month.

The other, brought by San Francisco against Walgreens, resulted in a judge holding the company liable last month, though no money judgment has been decided.

Walgreens and CVS also settled mid-trial with Florida for $683 million and $484 million, respectively.

New Mexico sued the pharmacies in 2017, accusing them of creating a public nuisance by failing to stop the diversion of opioids into illegal channels. The state is seeking to make the pharmacies pay for anti-addiction programs to abate that nuisance.

Pharmacy operators Walmart, Walgreens, Kroger begin opioid trial in New Mexico
 

Related Articles

Crypto lender BlockFi files for Chapter 11
Crypto lender BlockFi files for Chapter 11 By Reuters - Nov 28, 2022 4

(Reuters) - U.S. cryptocurrency lender BlockFi said on Monday it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection along with eight affiliates in a New Jersey court, the latest...

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email