A federal jury has found that CVS, Walgreens and Walmart helped flood two Ohio counties with addictive opioids by failing to stop mass quantities of the drugs from reaching the black market, reports The Washington Post. Lake and Trumbull counties argued that the companies created a public nuisance — a key legal argument that has faced recent pushback from two other courts in Oklahoma and California.
In a span of eight years, 10 pharmacies dispensed nearly 49 million prescription pain pills to the two Ohio counties — enough to provide about a dozen doses to each man, woman and child who lived there every 12 months. The counties blamed the deluge of hundreds of millions of pills sent to their area over two decades for fueling addiction to opioids that led people to harder drugs, such as heroin and fentanyl. The three companies say they plan to appeal the verdict and have blamed drug-makers for marketing the addictive medications, and doctors for overprescribing, arguing that others were significantly responsible for the flood of legal opioids that were diverted to illegal use. U.S. District Judge Dan A. Polster in Cleveland is expected to decide in spring of 2022 how much the companies will pay the two counties. The toll of the epidemic is estimated to cost more than $1 billion for each of the counties.