Texas Attorney General Launches Investigation into Walmart Prescription Opioid Sales

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said on Tuesday he was investigating retail giant Walmart over potential violations of Texas’ Deceptive Marketing Practices Act regarding its sales of prescription opioids.

In a statement, the Republican said he has issued a Civil Inquiry Request (CID), or a type of subpoena, to Walmart that will allow him to obtain information relevant to the investigation.

Under the CID, Walmart will be required to submit documentation related to opioid orders from January 2006 to the present to the Drug Enforcement Administration and all state agencies in Texas, Paxton said.

Paxton’s investigation will focus on Walmart’s sales, promotions, distribution and distribution of prescription opioids and whether or not the retailer misfilled prescriptions for controlled substances.

It will also focus on whether or not Walmart failed to report suspicious orders as required by law.

“I fought for Texans who have been tragically impacted by the illegal marketing and sale of opioids, which have caused addiction and the premature death of thousands of people every year,” Paxton said. “I am committed to holding pharmacies accountable if they have played a role in this devastating outbreak.”

Walmart said in a statement to Fox News that it would answer Paxton’s questions and was confident about its opioid safety record, noting that the company’s pharmacists have refused to fill hundreds of thousands questionable opioid prescriptions, which sometimes led to criticism. to be overly cautious, by medical groups, doctors, and even the Texas Medical Board.

“Never manufactured, marketed or promoted opioids”

The company has “never manufactured, marketed or promoted opioids, and pharmacists are not doctors and do not write prescriptions for opioids,” Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove said.

“Walmart and our pharmacists are torn between the demands placed on pharmacists by opioid seekers on one side and health agencies and regulators on the other, and patients are caught in the middle.”

Opioids, including those that are both prescribed and illicit, have claimed the lives of more than 564,000 people from 1999 to 2020, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2020 alone, there were 91,799 drug overdoses, nearly 75% of which involved an opioid.

More recently, a wave of fentanyl-related overdoses and deaths have hit America, with deaths from the powerful synthetic opioid more than doubling in 30 states in just two years, according to data from nonprofit group Families Against Fentanyl. .

Walmart has previously been sued by the Justice Department for its alleged role in fueling the opioid crisis across the country, with the DOJ alleging the retailer “illegally distributed controlled substances through pharmacies it operated in across the country and illegally dispensed controlled substances to these pharmacies during the height of the prescription opioid crisis.

At the time the lawsuit was filed, Walmart said the DOJ investigation was “tainted with historic ethics violations” and that the lawsuit “invents a legal theory that unlawfully compels pharmacists to come between patients.” and their physicians, and is riddled with factual inaccuracies and cherry-picked material taken out of context.

This trial has been temporarily suspended but is expected to resume on July 11.

Walmart, along with drugstore giants CVS and Walgreens, were also found responsible in November for fueling the opioid epidemic in two Ohio counties. A federal judge will decide in the spring how much the three pharmacies should pay in damages to Lake and Trumbull counties.


Katabella Roberts is a journalist currently based in Turkey. She covers news and affairs for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.

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