2 major pharmacies to pay nearly $10 billion for role in opioid epidemic

By Around the Web

(Photo by Yerko Lucic on Unsplash)
(Photo by Yerko Lucic on Unsplash)

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By Bronson Winslow
Daily Caller News Foundation

UPDATE: This story has been updated to reflect new information regarding Walgreens’ settlement.

CVS Health and Walgreens tentatively agreed Wednesday to pay nearly $10 billion to states, counties and cities that filed opioid lawsuits and claims against the companies.

CVS Health will pay $4.9 billion to states and political subdivisions and approximately $130 million to tribes over the next ten years, and Walgreens will pay $4.79 billion over the next 15 years if all “non-monetary” terms are finalized and agreed to, according to a CVS release and Walgreens settlement filing. The tentative agreement addresses and resolves claims dating back decades, but doesn’t not equate CVS or Walgreens admitting wrongdoing or liability.

“We are pleased to resolve these longstanding claims and putting them behind us is in the best interest of all parties, as well as our customers, colleagues and shareholders. We are committed to working with states, municipalities and tribes, and will continue our own important initiatives to help reduce the illegitimate use of prescription opioids,” Thomas Moriarty Chief Policy Officer and General Counsel for CVS Health said.

Opioid addiction has been linked to more than 500,000 deaths over the last 20 years, and many addicts reported beginning with prescription drugs, according to the National Institute on Drug Use (NIDU). Eighty-six percent of addicts had used opioid pain relievers before heroin addiction, citing the three main sources were family, friends or prescriptions, a study from 2008 to 2009 found.

Opioid deaths continue to climb, with an estimated 100,306 drug overdose deaths reported in the US in 2021, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Deaths increased by 28.5% from 78,056 in 2020.

Walmart will also pay $3.1 billion up front, sources close to the settlement told Reuters, and all agreements are tentative depending on the number of states and agencies that agree to join.

CVS Health did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

This story originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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