Monetary damages set in lawsuit over opioids

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CLEVELAND, Ohio — Two Ohio counties have been awarded $650 million in damages in a lawsuit against CVS, Walgreens and Walmart, claiming the way the pharmacy chains distributed pain medications significantly harmed the communities. The August 17 ruling is the first by a federal judge that assigns monetary damages against the chains for their roles in the opioid crisis.

U.S. District Judge Dan Polster ruled the money be used to abate an ongoing opioid crisis in Lake and Trumbull counties. The counties had asked for $3 billion in damages. Polster ruled the pharmacies bore responsibility for one-third of the amount that the counties need to address damage from the epidemic, with drug manufacturers and drug distributors also bearing

Polster heard testimony in May to determine damages after a jury in November returned a verdict in the lawsuit. Polster said that the pharmacy chains had “squandered the opportunity to present a meaningful plan to abate the nuisance” following the trial.

CVS, Walmart and Walgreens said they will appeal the ruling.

Walmart issued a statement saying that the “plaintiffs’ lawyers wrongly claimed that pharmacists must second-guess doctors” in a way that interferes with the doctor-patient relationship.



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