CVS Health, Walmart and Walgreens have been partially held responsible by a federal jury in Cleveland for fueling the opioid crisis in two Ohio counties, which resulted in several drug overdose deaths.
The jury announced that the attorneys for the Lake and Trumbull counties provided enough evidence that highlight the role of the three pharmacy chains in the opioid epidemic.
As per the court documents, the pharmacies were careless about controlling the sale of unsafe drugs and overprescribed painkillers. The lawsuit highlighted that Trumbull County witnessed the distribution of 80 million prescription painkillers from 2012 to 2016, which accounts for 400 pills per resident. Even Lake County recorded the distribution of about 61 million opioid pills at the same time.
The amount is yet to be decided that the pharmacies will need to pay even though the companies have contributed more than $1 billion in damages. The final verdict about the total fine to be levied upon the pharmacies would be decided until after the hearings to be held in next spring. The counties even reached settlement agreements earlier before the trial with the other two pharmacies Rite Aid and Giant Eagle.
As per the reports, the country recorded 3,100 opioid overdoses deaths in 2013, and the number has been rising sharply every year. Federal health officials confirmed that 70% of all drug overdoses in the United States resulted from opioids. A report even confirmed that 2020 recorded the highest number of drug overdose deaths.
Currently, there are more than 2,000 opioid lawsuits filed in the federal court system seeking damages from manufacturers and distributors of opioids. All the opioid lawsuits have been consolidated in a JMPL before the U.S. District Judge Dan A. Polster in the Northern District of Ohio for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings.