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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

Stark reminder for America's corporate leaders

Rosalind "Roz" Brewer is about to become only the second Black woman to permanently lead a Fortune 500 company. She starts as Walgreens CEO on March 15.

Why it matters: It's a stark reminder of how far corporate America's top decision-makers have to go during an unprecedented push by politicians, employees and even a stock exchange to diversify their top ranks.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Updated 2 hours ago - Technology

Apple's quarterly sales top $100 billion for first time

Credit: Apple

Spurred by strong sales of the latest iPhones, Apple reported it took in a record $111 billion in revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31, as the company crushed expectations.

Why it matters: The move showed even a pandemic didn't dull demand for Apple's latest smartphones.

2 hours ago - Technology

Facebook stock whipsaws amid ad targeting concerns

Photo Illustration by Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook's stock showed volatility in after-hours trading Wednesday, despite adding users and beating on top and bottom lines.

Why it matters: Investors seem spooked by proposed changes to user data collection by Apple that would impact Facebook's ad business, in addition to perennial threats of new federal privacy regulations.