Walmart, CVS, Walgreens must disclose 14 years of opioid data

In a new ruling, Judge Dan Polster of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio determined that Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and other pharmacies must provide 14 years' worth of national opioid-dispensing data to plaintiffs.

In a new ruling, Judge Dan Polster of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio determined that Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and other pharmacies must provide 14 years' worth of national opioid-dispensing data to plaintiffs. The ruling by Polster, who is overseeing litigation involving more than 2,000 lawsuits, rejects most of the pharmacy industry defendants' arguments for why their data should be kept private. The pharmacies contend that revealing this data could harm patient privacy, and plaintiffs should get the information from a tracker administrated by the Ohio government. In his December 30 order, Polster wrote: "The Court has put into place numerous protective orders specifically addressing health information protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), such as patient prescriptions." Polster also rejected the defense argument that Summit and Cuyahoga counties should be forced to obtain data from Ohio, which started to gather more comprehensive data only in the past few years and is reluctant to hand over its prescription and dispensing information. Polster's order modifies prior requirements, such as reducing what pharmacy defendants would need to produce and creating a "roll-out schedule" for sharing the data. The order slashes the prescription data production period by 10 years, on grounds that the ARCOS data produced by the Department of Justice only went back to 2006, so defendant pharmacies should also be held liable to that year.