Health Day reporter
THURSDAY, November 24, 2021 (HealthDay News) – CVS Health, Walmart and Walgreens contributed to opioid overdoses and deaths in two Ohio counties, a federal jury in Cleveland found Tuesday.
The jury’s first verdict in an opioid case came in the closely watched test case and may prove encouraging for plaintiffs in thousands of lawsuits across the United States using the same legal strategy – which companies have helped to a “public nuisance”, The New York Times reported.
That argument was rejected this month by judges in California and Oklahoma in cases against opioid manufacturers.
The Ohio case marks the first time the pharmaceutical retail sector has been held responsible for the opioid crisis in the United States, the Times reported. CVS Health, Walmart and Walgreens are three of the largest drugstore chains in the country.
After the verdict, the trial judge will decide how much each of the drugstore chains will have to pay in Lake and Trumbull counties in northeastern Ohio, the Times reported.
County attorneys said the three companies had turned a blind eye to suspicious opioid orders for years. Any oversight requirements were “too little, too late,” said Mark Lanier, senior county counsel, the Times reported.
Illegal opioid overdose deaths hit record highs during the COVID-19 pandemic, new data from the U.S. government shows. Times reported.
Visit the National Institute of Drug Abuse to learn more about opioids.
THE SOURCE: The New York Times