The two biggest pharmacy chains in the nation, CVS and Walgreens, said on Wednesday that they will each pay $5 billion to resolve opioid cases.
According to a lawyer who spoke to the Associated Press, Walmart is also engaged in negotiations for a contract.
The agreements are merely general ones. According to the AP, they would put an end to hundreds of lawsuits filed by state and local governments that claimed pharmacies filled prescriptions that they should have known weren’t appropriate.
According to the AP, over 500,000 deaths in the United States over the past 20 years have been associated with opioid use.
Over $50 billion in settlements have already been reached between some of the largest medication manufacturers and distribution firms. To combat opioid abuse, the majority of the funds must go to state and local governments.
Courtney Gary-Allen, organising director of the Maine Recovery Advocacy Project, stated that it was “yet another offender who is having to pay their dues” for its role in the overdose issue. “The average American has long been paying it.”
Both CVS and Walgreens denied any misconduct in the transactions.
In a statement, Thomas Moriarty, chief policy officer and general counsel at CVS, stated, “We are glad to conclude these long-standing claims and putting them behind us is in the best interest of all parties, as well as of our customers, colleagues, and shareholders.
This settlement approach will enable us to maintain our emphasis on the health and wellness of our customers and patients while making beneficial contributions to combat the opioid crisis, according to a statement from Walgreens.
Paul Geller, a counsel for the government, said that talks with Walmart are still going on. A Walmart representative declined to comment on Wednesday.