Walgreens settles for $83M with West Virginia over opioid lawsuit

(The Center Square) – Walgreens settled an opioid lawsuit with the state of West Virginia for $83 million, according to Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

The settlement is part of a series of settlements with major pharmacies over the pharmacies failing to maintain effective controls as it distributed pharmaceuticals and contributed to an oversupply of opioids in West Virginia.

Morrisey said West Virginia took a chance by litigating its own suits against pharmacies instead of joining national settlements and the state has doubled what it would have obtained by being part of those national suits.

“I won’t tell you that there wasn’t some risk involved in that,” he added.

One remaining large pharmacy, Kroger, has not settled with the state and has a trial set for June. Both Purdue Pharma and Mallinckrodt are in bankruptcy proceedings.

Walmart settled for $65 million, CVS settled for $82.5 million and Rite Aid settled for $30 million.

The state has settled for $260.57 million from retail pharmacies, $296.5 million from manufacturers and $400 million from wholesalers.

West Virginia has created a process to distribute funds throughout the state to fight the opioid crisis in the future. Morrisey also said the state leads the nation in fentanyl deaths and has been attacking fentanyl distribution.

Morrisey said he believes money will soon be able to go to the West Virginia First Foundation as part of the distribution.

“That’s the pathway that we can use to make sure that money ultimately starts getting out to the people,” he said. “That’s what we need to do. The opioid epidemic has effected so many people here in West Virginia.”

Morrisey said that the opioid epidemic has led to a large group of West Virginia residents being vulnerable to fentanyl addiction.

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