Walmart has agreed to pay $3.1 billion in a multistate case addressing the nation’s opioid crisis. Several attorney generals (AG) have alleged that the retail giant’s pharmacies failed to regulate certain prescriptions, thus contributing to the widespread problem.
The case focuses on all areas of the supply chain. It begins with the manufacturers and then works down to distributors, pharmacies, trade associations, and doctors.
New York State Attorney General Letitia James co-led a group of AGs in settlement negotiations. Her office announced that the Walmart settlement will “Include broad, court-ordered requirements Walmart must comply with, such as robust oversight to prevent fraudulent prescriptions and flag suspicious prescriptions.”
Walmart issued a statement supporting the settlement framework but “strongly” disputed the allegations against the company. The statement also specified that the settlement does not contain the admission of any liability.
If all conditions of the settlement are met, every lawsuit and even potential lawsuit against Walmart will be resolved. This applies to tribal, local, and state-level cases.
Out of the $3.1 billion, New York state is due to be awarded $116 million, and designated amounts are pending approval from other states. James’ office is confident the other AGs will accept their portions of the settlement by the end of 2022.
If 43 states agree to the framework by the end of the year, local governments can participate in the settlement during the first three months of 2023.
The other states that helped secure these negotiations are Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, Nebraska, North Carolina, California, Massachusetts, Louisiana, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana.
After the news broke that the New York AG office had reached a $523 million agreement with Teva Pharmaceuticals, the multistate settlement was announced. James’ office also confirmed that “promising negotiations” were in the works with other major pharmacy chains, including CVS and Walgreens.
These are tremendous steps in the right direction to stop America’s opioid epidemic.