Raúl Torrez | Attorney General

AG Balderas Delivers Opening Argument with Demand for Accountability in 7 Week High-Profile Opioid Trial

​For Immediate Release:
September 9, 2022
Contact: Jerri Mares — (505) 321-4372

SANTA FE — New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas delivered opening remarks, kicking off the State’s opioid trial against Walmart, Walgreens, and Kroger. The trial addresses the State’s allegations that the companies substantially contributed to the opioid crisis in New Mexico by failing to monitor suspicious orders of opioids and failing to investigate prescriptions filled at their pharmacies that may have been written for an illegitimate purpose. The trial, which began in Santa Fe September 6, is expected to last 7 weeks.

“These companies dangerously put profits over patient safety by allowing the flood of prescription opiate pills to surge throughout the State of New Mexico into our communities, into our schools, and into our homes, destroying the quality of life for many New Mexicans,” said Attorney General Balderas.

Attorney General Balderas initiated litigation against those responsible for the opioid epidemic in 2017. Now, after nearly five years, the State is finally able to present its case against these pharmacies who dispensed more than half of all opioids sold in the state from 2006 to 2019. The pharmacies are accused of failing to fulfill their obligation to prevent dispensing opioids that were diverted to illicit use.

This trial comes on the heels of New Mexico’s previous settlements with manufacturer Johnson & Johnson and drug distributors McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Cardinal Health which collectively will bring more than $190 million into the State of New Mexico. Drug manufacturers Purdue Pharma, Insys Therapeutics, Mallinckrodt plc, and Endo Pharmaceuticals have all filed for bankruptcy as a result of high-profile opioid-related litigation, and New Mexico continues to pursue them in that forum. The State is expected to commence its trial against drug manufacturers Teva, Allergan, and KVK-Tech in Santa Fe in March 2023.

A copy of the opening remarks is attached.

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Raul Torrez

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