BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart is suing the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), asking a federal court to clarify the roles and responsibilities of pharmacists and pharmacies under the Controlled Substances Act. The case is pending before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.
Walmart states that the company and its pharmacists are committed to helping address the opioid crisis. “We are proud of our pharmacists, who help patients understand the risks about opioid prescriptions, and who have refused to fill hundreds of thousands of opioid prescriptions they thought could be problematic With the help of a team of investigators and experts, Walmart has also blocked thousands of questionable doctors from having their opioid prescriptions filled by any of our pharmacists, and we frequently assist law enforcement in bringing bad doctors to justice,” states Walmart.
However, in Walmart’s view, “certain DOJ officials” have long seemed more focused on chasing headlines than fixing the crisis. Those officials, according to the company, are now threatening a completely unjustified lawsuit against Walmart, claiming in hindsight pharmacists should have refused to fill otherwise valid opioid prescriptions that were written by the very doctors that the federal government still approves to write prescriptions.
“Walmart and our pharmacists are torn between demands from DEA on one side and health agencies and regulators on the other, and patients are caught in the middle,” the company states.