Walmart enjoys a market share envied by their peers in the retail industry. Most of their success comes from the product and service variety that few other retailers can even come close to replicating. Customers taking advantage of these amenities, particularly having a prescription filled by a pharmacist, can use the wait time to shop for necessities.
Growing suspicions of Walmart’s pharmaceutical practices got the attention of Texas federal law enforcement. Those agents teamed with federal prosecutors to investigate the company’s opioid dispensing practices that allegedly resulted in customers dying from overdoses.
Doing the Right Thing Falls Short
Their sources were store pharmacists from more than 30 states who began refusing to fill prescriptions from doctors known to operate “pill mills.” Their pleas of putting patients at risk to Walmart’s corporate office fell on deaf ears. Compliance officials with the mega-retailer not only ignored the problem, but they also doubled down by demanding that pharmacists keep filling prescriptions, regardless of any physician’s practices.
Their objective seemed to revolve around keeping pharmacy revenues flowing.
With first-hand accounts and other evidence, federal authorities felt confident in moving forward with an indictment against Walmart for violating the Controlled Substances Act. Twenty-four hours before Halloween 2018, they traveled to Washington to present their findings to the Department of Justice. Instead of being treated with praise over their due diligence and attention to detail, they found themselves feeling “tricked.”
Before the Texas prosecutors could file their case, however, Walmart escalated concerns to high-ranking members of the Department of Justice who intervened and ordered Texas agents to stand down. They claimed that the problem surrounded a few “rogue employees” and was anything but a nationwide problem with the retailer.
Federal authorities publicly decrying an opioid problem while looking the other way when it comes to prescription abuse is cognitive dissonance and its most dangerous. Those dealing with dependencies on this highly addictive medication could lose their lives, all due to greed.