During the height of the opioid epidemic, Walmart kept filling suspicious prescriptions despite protests from its own pharmacists. Justice Department prosecutors were prepared to file criminal indictments against the company, ProPublica found in its investigation. Walmart executives escalated concerns to political appointees at the agency though, who then ordered attorneys to stand down. In other news, PBS NewsHour reports on the difficulties of pain management in the coronavirus era.
ProPublica: Walmart Was Almost Charged Criminally Over Opioids. Trump Appointees Killed The Indictment.
On a Tuesday just before Halloween in 2018, a group of federal prosecutors and agents from Texas arrived in Washington. For almost two years, they’d been investigating the opioid dispensing practices of Walmart, the largest company in the world. They had amassed what they viewed as highly damning evidence only to face a major obstacle: top Trump appointees at the Department of Justice. The prosecution team had come to Washington to try to save its case. Joe Brown, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas, led the group, which included Heather Rattan, an over-20-year veteran of the office who had spent much of her career prosecuting members of drug cartels. (Eisinger and Bandler, 3/25)
PBS NewsHour: Amid COVID-19, A New Push For Telehealth To Treat Opioid Use Disorder
The medical community has been working to provide accessible treatment for opioid use disorder to those who are in hard to reach areas, particularly in rural America. Telehealth, or the use of videoconferencing, texting and mobile apps are all being used to aid in recovery. But as COVID-19 sweeps across the U.S., closing businesses and schools and forcing many to stay home, telehealth treatment for substance abuse may now be more critical than ever. (Rohrich, 3/23)
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