West Virginia announces settlement with Rite Aid over opioid crisis allegations

Aug. 12 (UPI) — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has announced that they have reached a multi-million-dollar settlement with Rite Aid to resolve a lawsuit accusing the pharmacy chain of contributing to the state’s opioid crisis.

The Republican attorney general said Thursday that the state and the drug company have agreed to a settlement that may total as much as $30 million.


“Money will not bring back the lives lost from this epidemic, but we are looking for accountability,” Morrisey said in a statement.

“With this settlement and other settlements, we will provide significant help to those affected the most by the opioid crisis in our state.”

The settlement resolves a lawsuit brought against Rite Aid by the Morrisey accusing it of contributing to the oversupply of opioids in the state by failing to maintain effective controls.

The lawsuit said the company’s failure inflicted “significant losses” on its patients, including for their past and current medical costs. It also states its negligence resulted in loses to rehabilitation bills, drug overdose medication naloxone expenses and to cover medical examiners.

The lawsuit is one of thousands filed throughout the country seeking recompense for the lives and funds lost due to the ongoing opioid crisis.


According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at 81.4 overdose deaths per 100,000 people, West Virginia has by far highest drug overdose mortality rate in the country with Kentucky having the second highest at 49.2.

The lawsuit is also one of several the state has brought over the opioid crisis with many still being litigated.

Morrisey has largely opted out from participating in a coalition of state attorneys general working together to achieve mass settlements from drug companies, and has pursued litigation on his own.

The state has previously secured settlements, including a $99 million settlement with Johnson & Johnson in April and a $37 million deal with McKesson Corp in 2019, among others.

The money gained from settlements, including that announced Thursday, is distributed throughout the state based on a memorandum of understanding signed by cities and counties on how such dollars would be used to abate the opioid crisis.

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