Basically, the government is alleging that the pharmacists at the retail giant were so overworked that they were unable to perform due diligence of dodgy prescriptions.
I would love to see this level of scrutiny applied to Amazon:
The Trump administration sued Walmart Inc. Tuesday, accusing the retail giant of helping to fuel the nation’s opioid crisis by inadequately screening for questionable prescriptions despite repeated warnings from its own pharmacists.Walmart's defense appears to be, "I don't want to deal drugs, but it would cost too much money to do the job right."
The Justice Department’s lawsuit claims Walmart sought to boost profits by understaffing its pharmacies and pressuring employees to fill prescriptions quickly. That made it difficult for pharmacists to reject invalid prescriptions, enabling widespread drug abuse nationwide, the suit alleges.
The country’s largest retailer by revenue, Walmart has been expecting this complaint and sued the federal government in October to fight the allegations pre-emptively. That suit accuses the Justice Department and DEA of attempting to scapegoat the company for what it says are the federal government’s own regulatory and enforcement shortcomings.
The Justice Department’s lawsuit alleges Walmart created a system that turned its network of 5,000 in-store U.S. pharmacies into a leading supplier of highly addictive painkillers. The allegations date to June 2013, according to the suit.
“Many of these prescription drugs would never have hit the streets if Walmart pharmacies had complied with their obligations,” said Maria Chapa Lopez, a U.S. attorney in Tampa, Fla., who is one of several prosecutors involved in the suit.
Walmart started with cut-rate prices on opioids that initially drove shoppers to its stores, the government alleges. Middle managers—under direction from executives at company headquarters—pressured pharmacists to work faster, the suit says, believing quick-fill prescriptions drew customers to stay and keep shopping.
Many of the alleged problems centered in Walmart’s compliance unit, which oversaw dispensing nationwide from the company’s main office in Bentonville, Ark., the suit says. Walmart allegedly ignored repeated warnings that the company had understaffed its pharmacies as pressure to sell quickly caused mistakes and put patients’ health at risk, according to the complaint.
Pharmacists allegedly got little help from compliance managers who for years didn’t share information between stores, and in many cases refused requests to give blanket rejections to suspect prescribers even after rival retailers had done so, the suit says.
“Rather than analyzing the refusal-to-fill reports, the compliance unit viewed ‘[d]riving sales and patient awareness’ as ‘a far better use of our Market Directors and Market Manager’s time,’” the Justice Department said, quoting a company compliance director. “Given the nationwide scale of those violations, Walmart’s failures to follow basic legal rules helped fuel a national crisis.”
My old axiom applies, "If they treat their employees like sh%$, how do you think that they will treat you as a customer?"