Afternoon Coffee: Walmart sues federal government over opioid crisis; Supplyframe survey says supply chains return to capacity in a year; PRO Recap: Pactum, Bullhorn survey, EasyKost, procurement’s new influence

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Walmart sued the federal government in an effort to strike a pre-emptive blow against a potential opioid-related civil lawsuit from the Justice Department, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The retail company alleged in the suit that the Justice Department and Drug Enforcement Administration are seeking to scapegoat the company for the federal government’s own regulatory and enforcement shortcomings in combating the opioid crisis. Walmart said the government is seeking financial penalties against the retailer for allegedly contributing to the opioid crisis by filling questionable prescriptions, the article reported.

The lawsuit names the department and Attorney General William Barr as defendants in addition to the DEA and its acting administrator, Timothy Shea. It seeks a declaration from a federal judge that the government has no lawful basis for seeking civil damages from the company, the article said.

“In the shadow of their own profound failures, DOJ and DEA now seek to retroactively impose on pharmacists and pharmacies unworkable requirements that are not found in any law and go beyond what pharmacists are trained and licensed to perform,” the company said in the lawsuit, filed in federal court in the Eastern District of Texas.

The news of Walmart’s lawsuit comes on the tails of a recent settlement between Purdue Pharma and the U.S. Department of Justice. The OxyContin makers agreed to plead guilty and pay a $8.3 billion settlement to criminal charges related to its fueling of the opioid crisis. The deal resolves some of the most serious claims against Purdue Pharma, but it still faces thousands of cases brought by states and families, the BBC reported.

Supplyframe data shows supply chain professionals’ cautious optimism for global bounce back to full capacity

New data from Supplyframe, a solutions provider, released this week found that 32% of supply chain professionals think it will take six to 12 months for global supply chains to return to full capacity following the COVID-19 disruption. Another 20% said it will take 12 months to two years, according to a press release.

The data also showed that 66% of professionals said if there is a vaccine approved in the U.S., the necessary medical equipment will be available to produce and distribute the vaccine at scale within one year. However, with the pandemic continuing, 19% said they don’t think a vaccine can be produced fast enough and 16% said vaccine distribution in the U.S. is “onerous.” There is a belief that some Americans will refuse a vaccine, the press release said.

Supply chain professionals are worried about a COVID-19 resurgence and potential impact on medical device production. About 15% of respondents said they expect to see supply shortages if there is continued resurgence of the virus. A majority (82%) are worried how tariffs on Chinese products could impact PPE and medical devices.

“The supply chain has experienced delays in manufacturing, shortages in supply and logistics problems due to travel restrictions,” Supplyframe CEO Steve Flagg said in the press release. “But most supply chain professionals believe the U.S. will have the equipment it needs to create and deliver a COVID-19 vaccine within a year of its approval. However, our research points to the many current and potential challenges the nation faces related to vaccinations, testing and equipment availability. And it highlights the importance of data accuracy and intelligence.”

Spend Matters' analysts look at Pactum, Bullhorn’s survey, EasyKost, and procurement's role beyond spend influence

This week, Spend Matters PRO analysts assessed solutions from Pactum, an artificial intelligence-based contract management system, and EasyKost, a product cost management tool. We also provided a deep dive into a recent Bullhorn survey. Analyst Pierre Mitchell also delved into spend under management and how procurement can do even more to help their businesses. Our PRO subscribers can read the full articles, but all readers can see the lengthy intros that frame the issues being discussed. This week:

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