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Photo: Tim Boyle/Getty Images

The Trump administration sued Walmart on Tuesday, accusing its pharmacies of not properly screening questionable painkiller prescriptions and filling them, ultimately fueling nationwide addiction.

Why it matters: The major retailer "knowingly filled thousands of controlled substance prescriptions that were not issued for legitimate medical purposes or in the usual course of medical practice," the Justice Department alleges.

The state of play: Walmart's network of 5,000 in-store pharmacies were turned into America's leading supplier of highly addictive painkillers, dating back to 2013, per the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news of the lawsuit.

  • “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.”

Background: In October, Walmart sued the federal government to counterattack the impending opioid-related civil lawsuit from the Justice Department.

The big picture: Drugmaker Purdue filed for bankruptcy last year in response to settling hundreds of lawsuits.

  • Johnson & Johnson and three drug distributors are in talks of a $26 billion settlement between several counties and states.
  • About 50,000 fatal opioid overdoses occurred in 2019, per federal data, a record high.

This post has been updated with more information from the Department of Justice.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - World

Courage vs. coddling with China

Peng Shuai of China serves during the China Open in Beijing in 2017. Photo: Andy Wong/AP

The women's professional tennis tour suspended tournaments in China Wednesday out of concern for Peng Shuai, on the same day that a top business voice made excuses for Beijing.

Why it matters: Ahead of February's Winter Olympics in Beijing, some sports figures are taking on the regime — while Big Business shrinks from confrontation with the world's second-largest economy.

2 hours ago - Sports

What to know about the first MLB lockout since 1995

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Hope you enjoyed the recent flurry of free-agent activity, because it's likely the last non-lockout-related MLB news for a while.

Driving the news: The owners locked out the players after the collective bargaining agreement expired at midnight last night, leading to MLB's ninth work stoppage — and first since 1995.

Biden extends mask mandates for travelers into 2022

President Biden delivers remarks at the White House on Dec. 1. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

President Biden will announce new testing protocols for international travelers on Thursday and extend masking requirements through March as the U.S. prepares to fight the Omicron variant this winter, according to senior administration officials.

Driving the news: The U.S. will tighten pre-departure testing protocols starting early next week by requiring all inbound international travelers to take COVID-19 tests within one day of their departure rather than three.