West Virginia on Wednesday announced an $83 million settlement with Walgreens to resolve a lawsuit over the pharmacy chain’s role in perpetuating the opioid crisis in the state.
Walgreens has agreed to pay the settlement within an eight-year period, state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) said. The money from all opioid settlements will be distributed under an agreement with the state and local governments about how to abate the opioid crisis throughout the state.
“We will continue to seek out justice for those affected the most by the opioid epidemic that hit our state the hardest,” Morrisey said in a statement. “This and other settlements will not bring back the lives lost from the opioid menace, but our hope is that the money would provide significant help to those affected the most by this crisis in West Virginia.”
The settlement resolves a lawsuit that alleged the pharmacy chain failed to maintain effective controls against diversion that contributed to an oversupply of opioids in the state.
Walgreens is part of a larger litigation involving Kroger, Walmart, CVS and Rite Aid. Walmart and CVS settled with the state in September for a combined total of $147 million, and Rite Aid settled in August for up to $30 million.
Kroger is the last remaining defendant, with a trial scheduled for June.
Morrisey is alleging that Kroger failed to report suspicious drug orders to the Drug Enforcement Administration and the West Virginia Board of Pharmacy.