CVS, Walgreens and Walmart reach nearly $12B settlement over opioid epidemic
Top pharmacy chains CVS Health, Walgreens and Walmart are looking to bundle the bulk of their opioid-related litigation into a major settlement announced today.
CVS said in its earnings report that it agreed to pay more than $5 billion to states, tribes and other groups over the next decade to substantially resolve all opioid-related lawsuits and claims against the company. Walgreens similarly said in an SEC filing that it would pay $4.8 billion in remediation payments over 15 years to a majority of these suits.
And Walmart will likely pay another $3 billion for its own opioids-related settlement, according to Bloomberg sources.
Following discussions with a leadership group of state attorneys general, both CVS and Walgreens said they forged agreements that would resolve claims from more than a decade ago even as the settlement “is not an admission of any liability or wrongdoing.”
However, in an SEC filing, CVS also cautioned that the settlement is still in its early phases and the “amount of ultimate loss may differ materially from this accrual.” The pharmacy chain also said that it expects a portion of its $5 billion in payments to be tax deductible.
As more than 100,000 died last year to opioid overdoses, these latest settlements are the biggest since J&J and several drug distributors signed off on a $21 billion settlement in February.
Under that settlement, AmerisourceBergen agreed to pay up to $6.1 billion, Cardinal will contribute up to $6 billion, and McKesson is on the hook for up to $7.4 billion over the next 18 years.