W.Va. Attorney General files suits against Walmart and CVS for roles in opioid epidemic

Published: Aug. 18, 2020 at 5:14 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) – West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey on Tuesday filed lawsuits against Walmart and CVS in connection with their roles in the state’s opioid epidemic.

The lawsuits allege the retail giants helped create the epidemic and should “act to remediate what became a public health and financial crisis.” Both retailers need to be held financially accountable, according to Morrisey.

The attorney general said the retailers, operating as individual distributors, “supplied far more opioids to their retail pharmacies than necessary to meet a legitimate market, and not even that was enough as the retail pharmacies ordered additional pills from other distributors to fulfill demand.”

Morrisey said Walmart and CVS both failed to monitor for and report suspicious orders to their retail pharmacies.

“We must hold everyone accountable for the roles they played in the opioid epidemic and continue to push toward solutions that go after the root cause of the problem,” Morrisey said in a release. Walmart and CVS were each among the state’s top 10 opioid distributors from 2006 to 2014, according to the release.

Filed Tuesday in Putnam County Circuit Court, the civil complaints allege that both Walmart and CVS were “meeting more than a legitimate market demand.”

“Rather than report suspicious orders and stop diversion, the lawsuits allege Walmart and CVS continued to sell, ship and profit from the highly dangerous and addictive prescription painkillers,” the suit alleges.

The lawsuits allege “conduct by Walmart and CVS violated the state’s Consumer Credit and Protection Act and caused a public nuisance.”

Both lawsuits seek injunctive and equitable relief. Read the lawsuit pertaining to Walmart at and CVS at

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