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Walmart agrees to $3.1 billion opioid settlement framework

<i>Andrew Craft/USA TODAY Network</i><br/>Walmart has agreed to pay $3.1billion to settle multistate opioid lawsuits. Pictured is a Walmart store in Spring Lake on November 14.
Andrew Craft/USA TODAY Network
Walmart has agreed to pay $3.1billion to settle multistate opioid lawsuits. Pictured is a Walmart store in Spring Lake on November 14.

By Kristina Sgueglia, CNN

Walmart agreed to the framework of a $3.1 billion settlement, which resolves allegations from multiple states’ attorneys general that the company failed to regulate opioid prescriptions contributing to the nationwide opioid crisis.

The settlement, according to the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James, who co-led a coalition of attorneys general in the negotiation, will also “include broad, court-ordered requirements Walmart must comply with, such as robust oversight to prevent fraudulent prescriptions and flag suspicious prescriptions.”

Walmart said in a statement it “believes the settlement framework is in the best interest of all parties and will provide significant aid to communities across the country in the fight against the opioid crisis, with aid reaching state and local governments faster than any other nationwide opioid settlement to date, subject to satisfying all settlement requirements.”

But Walmart said it “strongly disputes the allegations in these matters,” noting the settlement framework does not include any admission of liability.

The framework will resolve virtually all opioid lawsuits and potential lawsuits by state, local, and tribal governments against Walmart, assuming all the settlement’s conditions are satisfied.

As part of the framework of the agreement, New York state will receive up to $116 million. The settlement is still pending approval from other states, but James’ office believes they will give the deal their blessing by the end of the year.

“Attorney General James and her colleagues are optimistic that the settlement will gain support of the required 43 states by the end of 2022, allowing local governments to join the deal during the first quarter of 2023,” the release said.

Attorneys General from New York, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas helped to negotiate this agreement.

“Promising negotiations,” are still underway with other pharmacies including Walgreens and CVS, James’ office said.

News of the multistate settlement comes after the New York Attorney General’s office announced it has secured $523 million from Teva Pharmaceuticals and affiliates for its role in the opioid crisis, effectively marking the end of the state’s litigation against opioid manufacturers and distributors not currently in bankruptcy proceedings.

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