CVS, Walgreens to pay $10.7B for alleged role in opioid crisis
New York Attorney General Letitia James on Monday announced two multistate settlements totaling $10.7 billion with CVS and Walgreens for the pharmacies’ role in the opioid crisis in the United States. Attorney General James co-led a coalition of attorneys general in negotiating the settlement, which will provide $10.7 billion to communities nationwide and will require significant improvements in how CVS and Walgreens handle opioids prescriptions.
CVS will pay $5 billion, and Walgreens will pay $5.7 billion. The state attorneys general on the executive committee, CVS and Walgreens have agreed to this settlement, which will now be sent to other states for review and approval. New York will receive up to $458,210,563.35 as part of the settlement, bringing the total amount secured by Attorney General James to combat the opioid crisis in New York to more than $2.5 billion.
“In New York and across the nation, communities continue to mourn family, friends and loved ones lost to the opioid crisis,” said Attorney General James. “Though we cannot reverse the devastation, my fellow attorneys general and I are committed to holding those who allowed this epidemic to run rampant through our country to account. We have now recovered $2.5 billion for New York from opioids manufacturers and distributors, and with those funds we will continue to support and expand abatement, treatment and prevention efforts statewide.”
[Read more: Teva to pay New York State $523M over alleged role in opioid crisis]
In addition to securing $10.7 billion to be divided among sign-on states, local government and tribes for opioid treatment, recovery and abatement, the settlement will include broad, court-ordered requirements CVS and Walgreens must comply with, including robust oversight to identify and prevent fraudulent or suspicious prescriptions.
The terms of the agreement will now be sent to the states for review. Each state will have until the end of 2022 to sign on, after which local governments nationwide will be able to join the deal in the first quarter of 2023. Further details regarding how the money will be distributed among localities is forthcoming.
Under the agreement, the payments are structured to ensure critical support in early years and sustained resources over time. Payments from CVS will be spread out over a period of 10 years, and payments from Walgreens will be spread out over a period of 15 years. Payments are expected to commence in the second half of 2023.
Joining Attorney General James in leading the executive committee that negotiated this agreement are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Texas.
In 2021, Attorney General James championed legislation to create an opioid settlement fund to ensure these monetary settlements are invested in helping New Yorkers impacted by the opioid crisis. The bill, codified as New York Mental Hygiene Law Section 25.18, passed unanimously through the state legislature, and requires all funds secured in opioid settlements by Attorney General James — now totaling more than $2.5 billion — be used for opioid abatement, treatment and prevention efforts in communities devastated by this epidemic.
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Last month, Attorney General James and 16 other state attorneys general announced a $3.1 billion multistate settlement with Walmart, resolving allegations that the company failed to regulate opioid prescriptions at its stores. She also secured up to $523 million from Teva, its American subsidiary Teva Pharmaceuticals USA and its affiliates for their role in fueling the opioid crisis, resolving the remedies phase of New York’s opioid trial after she achieved a historic liability verdict following a seven-month jury trial against Teva in 2021.
In June 2022, Attorney General James secured up to $58.5 million from Mallinckrodt for fueling the opioid crisis in New York.
In December 2021, Attorney General James reached a $200 million agreement with Allergan. In September 2021, Attorney General James secured $50 million from Endo to combat the opioid crisis. In July 2021, Attorney General James secured a settlement with McKesson, Cardinal Health and Amerisource Bergen that will deliver $1 billion to New York. In June 2021, Attorney General James announced a settlement that will deliver $230 million to New York and end Johnson & Johnson’s sale of opioids nationwide.