CVS, Walgreens amongst companies ordered to pay billions in opioid settlement, AG’s office says

June 9, 2023 – The state of California achieved an important milestone in its efforts to address the opioid crisis that has plagued communities around the country.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office announced in a press release that two pharmaceutical companies and two manufacturers will have to answer for the roles they played in the ongoing epidemic.

Walgreens and CVS are the pharmacies involved in the multi-billion dollar settlement, which requires the two retailers to pay over a combined $10 billion.

The manufacturers, Allergan and Teva, have agreed to move forward with settlements that equal an amount north of $5 billion.

A settlement with Walmart was not announced on Friday, but is expected to come to a conclusion in the coming weeks, the statement read.

That settlement is reported to be worth up to $3.1 billion.

“Nothing can bring back the lives lost or erase the suffering caused by this crisis, but we are making sure those who caused it and profited from it are held to account for their greed and willful misconduct,” said Bonta.

This is the third settlement Bonta has reached in his time as California’s Attorney General.

The other two were finalized in February 2021 and later that year in July.

Amongst other services, the money brought in from these settlements will accommodate the following, according to the Attorney General’s office:

  • Increasing support for substance-use disorder facilities and improving infrastructure for treatment.
  • Address the needs of communities of color and vulnerable populations, including those who are unhoused.
  • Strengthen the availability of Naloxone (also known as NARCAN) or other FDA-approved overdose reversal drugs.
  • Double down on interventions for drug addiction in vulnerable youth and support those in the juvenile justice system with treatment options.
  • Improve training and resources for law enforcement and first responders regarding appropriate practices and precautions when dealing with fentanyl or other drugs.
  • Supporting job creation programs to help connect those recovering from substance use disorders with gainful employment and pathways to financial stability.

According to the press release, the settlements for CVS and Walgreens, “resolve any claims that the companies ignored signs of prescription abuse and failed to prevent drug diversion.”

Meanwhile, the agreements that Allergan and Teva came to deal with allegations that the companies were deceptive in their marketing of opioids and downplayed their addictiveness while overstating the benefits.

Terms agreed to in the settlement also prohibit the manufacturers from selling opioids for the next 10 years and conducting any opioid-related marketing.

By Aydian Ahmad, Fox 40
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