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Walgreens to pay West Virginia $83M for alleged role in opioid crisis

The settlement with Walgreens brings the total West Virginia amount brought in from opioid litigation to more than $950 million.
Sandra Levy
Senior Editor

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced on Wednesday that the state settled for $83 million with Walgreens for its role in perpetuating the opioid crisis in West Virginia with the most per capita overdose deaths, bringing the total West Virginia amount brought in from opioid litigation to more than $950 million, according to an AP report

"We’re all down, one to go,” Morrisey said. “We can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

The settlement resolves a lawsuit that alleged Walgreens failed to maintain effective controls to prevent an oversupply of opioids in the state. Walgreens officials said the chain has increased patient education on safe opioid use and made the opioid overdose reversal medication Naloxone available in its 9,000 Walgreens pharmacies nationwide, among other measures to abate the drug crisis, according to the report.

[Read more: CVS, Walgreens to pay $10.7B for alleged role in opioid crisis]

“As one of the largest pharmacy chains in the nation, we remain committed to being a part of the solution,” Walgreens said in a statement.

Walgreens agreed to pay the settlement within an eight-year period, Morrisey said. The money from all opioid settlements will be distributed throughout the state to abate the opioid crisis.

Walgreens is part of a larger litigation involving Kroger, Walmart, CVS and Rite Aid.

The report noted that in September Morrisey announced that Walmart and CVS Pharmacy were settling with West Virginia for a combined total of $147 million in a lawsuit over the companies’ roles in contributing to the oversupply of prescription drugs that fueled the opioid epidemic.

In August, West Virginia cities and counties reached a $400 million tentative settlement with  AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson. In April, Morrisey announced West Virginia would receive $99 million in a settlement finalized with Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals, the report said.

[Read more: Teva to pay New York State $523M over alleged role in opioid crisis]

West Virginia still has an opioid case with Kroger. A trial is scheduled for June. The West Virginia Attorney General’s Office is alleging that Kroger failed to report suspicious drug orders to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the West Virginia Board of Pharmacy. Further, the state alleges that Kroger effectively had no suspicious order monitoring policy for a period of time when opioids were being distributed in significant quantities throughout the state, the report said.

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