Nov 24, 2021 00:18 GMT
Data from the federal government reveal that nearly half a million Americans have died since 2001 from the abuse of drugs and substances derived from opium.
Three major chains for the sale of pharmaceutical products, CVS Health, Walmart and Walgreens, have contributed to the so-called opioid crisis, which in addition to addictions throughout the United States has caused, specifically in two counties of the state of Ohio, numerous overdose deaths, a federal jury in Cleveland ruled Tuesday.
It is the first time that the US Justice has pronounced itself in support of lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies in relation to this crisis, which resulted in half a million deaths across the country over the course of two decades.
The court will now determine the compensation that these companies will have to pay to the two plaintiff counties –Lake and Trumbull– for the public harm caused by the massive and uncontrolled retail sale of opioid drugs.
Some 80 million such pain reliever pills were distributed in Trumbull County between 2012 and 2016, which is equivalent to 400 for each resident. In Lake County, the amount was 61 million lozenges in the same period.
“For decades, drug chains saw the pills coming out of their doors cause damage and they did not take action, as required by law, “reads a joint statement by lawyers from both counties and local government prosecutors, cited by various media.
The plaintiffs’ lawyers pointed out that these companies ignored for years the dangerous signals coming from the circulation of opiates, normally prescribed as anti-drug drugs. chronic pain. As a result of increasing restrictions that were imposed on the supply over time, already addicted patients were redirected to the heroin and fentanyl, two illegal substances.
The three chains have let it be known that they propose appeal the verdict, alleging that the sales were made by prescription of doctors accredited by the authorities.
Similar charges against a group of pharmaceutical retail giants were dropped this month in California and Oklahoma. Meanwhile, similar litigation continues in the states of New York, Washington and West Virginia. This same year, a group of pharmaceutical companies agreed to pay $ 26 billion with the aim of resolving thousands of claims related to the opioid crisis in the United States.