Walmart is alleging in a lawsuit filed Thursday that the federal government is trying to make a scapegoat out of the retailer in the nation's opioid crisis. Walmart claims that the Justice Department and Drug Enforcement Administration are trying to partially shift the blame for opioid addictions and deaths to Walmart's pharmacies, when in fact the government's own regulatory and enforcement shortcomings are to blame. The retailer says the government has not accused its pharmacies of filling invalid prescriptions, but rather of filling perfectly valid ones that Walmart pharmacists nevertheless "should have known" were suspicious. For this reason, Walmart is preemptively challenging the federal government's premises and contesting its right to seek financial penalties from the retailer.
Walmart, which operates more than 5,000 in-store pharmacies in the U.S., said the government’s “threatened action would be unprecedented.”