Attorney General Rosenblum today, along with many of her AG colleagues across the country, announced a national agreement with CVS and Walgreens for the pharmacies’ conduct in fueling the opioid epidemic. Walgreens operates the second largest pharmacy store chain in the United States, behind CVS. Under the agreements, CVS will pay $5 billion and Walgreens will pay $5.7 billion, totaling $10.7 billion. A certain number of states will need to sign onto the agreements for the full amount to be distributed.
“Pharmacies were a key link in the supply chain that contributed to the greatest drug-induced public health crisis in modern America. This may seem like a lot of money—and it is— but compared to the harm caused by America’s largest pharmacy chains, it barely scratches the surface,” said Attorney General Rosenblum .
This now makes three settlements with a national pharmacy chain in the last month; A $3 billion settlement with Walmart was announced in November. In the Walmart settlement, all states have until the end of 2022 to join, which Oregon has recently done. In addition, each of these agreements will need sign-on by Oregon’s counties and cities to maximize the amount of money the state will receive. Oregon stands to receive up to $173,150,000 over time as a result of the settlements with CVS ($65,430,000) Walgreens ($70,860,000) and Walmart ($36,860,000).
“Too many have died and too many families are broken by virtue of — plain and simple — corporate greed, and that includes pharmacies. Americans place their trust in their pharmacy, and certainly do not expect it to cause them harm,” added AG Rosenblum. “I appreciate that 100 percent of Oregon’s counties and cities signed onto our previous settlements with Johnson & Johnson and the three major opioid distributors. I hope they will sign onto these settlements, as well, in order to maximize how much Oregon can receive.”
In addition to the financial settlement, CVS and Walgreens have agreed to court-ordered injunctive relief that requires the pharmacies to monitor, report, and share data about suspicious activity related to opioid prescriptions. This court-ordered injunctive relief will help ensure a crisis like this does not happen again.
The terms of these agreements will now go to the states for their review. Each state will have until the end of 2022 to join, after which the Walmart, Walgreens, and CVS agreements will go to local governments around the country for sign-on during the first quarter of 2023. A sufficient percentage of states and local governments must join the settlements for them to go into effect.
Most of Walmart’s amount will be paid during the first year; CVS’s payments will be spread over 10 years; Walgreens' payments will be spread over 15 years. If there is sufficient sign-on, payments will begin during the second half of 2023.
Additional information on the previous settlement with Johnson & Johnson and the three largest distributors of opioids is online at https://www.doj.state.or.us/oregon-department-of-justice/office-of-the-attorney-general/spotlight-opioid-abuse/.
Source: Oregon Attorney General