By Robert Preidt and Robin Foster
HealthDay reporter

THURSDAY, November 24, 2021 (HealthDay News) – CVS Health, Walmart and Walgreens contributed to opioid overdoses and deaths in two counties of Ohio, a Cleveland federal jury found Tuesday.

The jury’s first judgment in an opioid case was in a closely watched test case and could prove encouraging to plaintiffs in thousands of lawsuits across the United States using the same legal strategy – that the companies contributed to “public harassment,” The New York Times reported.

That argument was rejected by judges in California and Oklahoma in trials against opioid manufacturers this month.

The Ohio case marks the first time the retail side of the pharmaceutical industry has been held accountable for the US opioid crisis, the Times reported. CVS Health, Walmart, and Walgreens are three of the largest pharmacy chains in the country.

Following the verdict, the trial judge will determine how much each of the pharmacy chains should pay Lake and Trumbull counties in northeast Ohio, the Times reported.

District lawyers said the three companies had turned a blind eye to suspicious opioid orders for years. Any oversight duties were “too low, too late,” said Mark Lanier, the county’s chief litigation attorney, the Times reported.

Illicit opioid overdose deaths have hit record highs during the COVID-19 pandemic, new data from the U.S. government shows, the Times reported.

More information

Visit the National Institute of Drug Abuse to learn more about opioids.

SOURCE: The New York Times

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