Walmart’s Role in the Opioid Crisis

Sometimes, when the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sits on its collective ass, pension funds will step in to enforce laws and ethics through legal action in the courts.

In the latest case, Norfolk County Retirement System and the Police and Fire Retirement System of Detroit have sued Walmart for failure to supervise sales of opiod painkillers in its in-store pharmacies “for years.”

Lawyers for states, cities and counties suing the chain to recoup billions of dollars spent dealing with the fallout from the U.S. opioid epidemic contend Walmart “failed to implement basic compliance controls to protect its pharmacies and drug distribution business from being used as cover for the illegal dissemination of opioids,” according to the complaints, filed June 16 in Delaware Chancery Court.

There are other cases on the same issues scheduled to go to trial in Cleveland in November of this year.

In this suit, the plaintiffs allege that Walmart used it political clout to suppress a criminal investigation, and that specific executives were responsible for ensuring the supply of opioids to “pill mills”, that is, doctors whose primary income was from these prescriptions.

Has the term, business ethics, become an oxymoron?

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