TIMES.KY

Cayman Islands, Caribbeanand International News
Sunday, Feb 05, 2023

CVS, Walmart, Walgreens agree to pay $13.8 bln to settle U.S. opioid claims - sources

CVS, Walmart, Walgreens agree to pay $13.8 bln to settle U.S. opioid claims - sources

CVS Health Corp (CVS.N), Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (WBA.O) and Walmart Inc (WMT.N) have agreed to pay about $13.8 billion to resolve thousands of U.S. state, local and tribal government lawsuits accusing the pharmacy chains of mishandling opioid painkillers.

CVS said Wednesday it had agreed to pay about $5 billion over 10 years, and Walgreens disclosed in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it had agreed to pay about $5.7 billion over 15 years. Neither company admitted wrongdoing. Walmart has agreed to pay $3.1 billion, mostly up front, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Paul Geller, one of the lawyers who negotiated for the governments, said that settlements with pharmacies "will bring billions of additional dollars to communities that are desperate for funds to combat the epidemic" of opioid addiction.

"We know that reckless, profit-driven dispensing practices fueled the crisis; but we know just as surely that with better systems in place and proper heeding of red flag warnings, pharmacies can play a direct role in reducing opioid abuse and in saving lives," Geller said.

CVS general counsel Thomas Moriarty said in a statement the company was pleased to resolve the claims and the deal was "in the best interest of all parties, as well as our customers, colleagues and shareholders."

Walgreens said in its SEC filing that it "continues to believe it has strong legal defenses" and will defend itself vigorously against any future lawsuits not covered by the settlement.

Both CVS and Walgreens said their agreements would not be final until certain non-monetary terms were worked out, and that the total amount could be reduced if not enough government plaintiffs sign on.

Walmart did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The proposed settlement, which would be the first nationwide deal with retail pharmacy companies, follows nationwide opioid settlements with drugmakers and distributors totaling more than $33 billion.

In more than 3,300 lawsuits, beginning in 2017, state and local governments accused drugmakers of downplaying the risks of their opioid pain medicines, and distributors and pharmacies of ignoring red flags that prescriptions were being diverted into illegal trafficking.

They said the resulting human toll, as well as strain on public health services and law enforcement, was a public nuisance that the companies must pay to fix.

CVS, Walgreens and Walmart are the three largest retail pharmacies in the country by market share. If their settlement becomes final, it will put much of the sprawling, years-long litigation over opioids to rest, though cases are still pending against smaller, more regionally focused pharmacy operators including Rite Aid Corp (RAD.N) and Kroger Co (KR.N).

Plaintiffs had scored some significant trial victories against pharmacy chains, including a $650.6 million judgment in favor of two Ohio counties against CVS, Walgreens and Walmart, and a ruling that Walgreens contributed to the opioid epidemic in San Francisco.

Previous settlements netted $21 billion from the three largest U.S. drug distributors, $5 billion from Johnson & Johnson, $4.35 billion from Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, $2.37 billion from AbbVie Inc and $450 million from Endo International Plc.

Purdue Pharma LP, whose prescription pill OxyContin is widely blamed for sparking the addiction and overdose crisis, and its Sackler family owners are seeking to resolve opioid claims against them through a $6 billion settlement in bankruptcy court.

State and local authorities have said they will use the money from the settlements to combat the opioid crisis, which according to federal government data has caused nearly 650,000 overdose deaths since 1999 and is continuing to worsen.

Prescriptions for opioids rose sharply in the 1990s as companies aggressively promoted the drugs, long used primarily in cancer patients, as a safe way to treat all kinds of chronic pain.

Overdoses involving opioids, including prescription pills and heroin, surged further during the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing 38% in 2020 over the previous year and another 15% in 2021, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The agency has attributed much of the recent rise in overdose cases to illegally manufactured fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid.

A congressional report last month put the economic toll of the opioid crisis in 2020 alone at $1.5 trillion.

Newsletter

Related Articles

TIMES.KY
Close
0:00
0:00
Tennessee Bill Would Imprison People for 3 Years If They 'Lie' About Rape to Get an Abortion.
Charlie Munger, calls for a ban on cryptocurrencies in the US, following China's lead
EU found a way to use frozen Russian funds
First generation unopened iPhone set to fetch more than $50,000 at auction.
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
What is ChatGPT?
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
UK chaos: Hong Kong emigrants duped by false prospectus
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
A Republican congressman-elect is under investigation in New York after he admitted he lied about his education and work experience.
Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
Hong Kong to scrap almost all its Covid rules
EU calls screening of travellers from China unjustified
US imposes Covid testing for visitors from China
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Addresses Joint Session of Congress - FULL SPEECH
If a country is denied the right to independence by another, it is not in a union. It is in a dictatorship.
Where is Rishi? Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's excuses about the UK's economic challenges just don't make sense
Former FTX CEO Bankman-Fried finally arrested in Bahamas after U.S. files charges
Corruption works: House Financial Services Chair Waters doesn't plan to subpoena her donor, Sam Bankman-Fried, to testify at hearing on FTX collapse
Ronaldo's new contract...
Prince William's godmother resigns honorary royal role after exposing her/their racism
×