Walmart has proposed a settlement to resolve the opioid cases against it.
Walmart, which has been one of the large pharmacy chains being targeted in the nationwide opioid litigation, has come up with a figure that it feels should resolve all addiction crisis litigation against it. The retail giant is proposing a $3.1 billion settlement. Walmart’s announcement follows closely at the heels of settlement proposals from CVS Health and Walgreens Co. As part of the settlement, Walmart would not have to admit to any wrongdoing.
In a statement, the company said, “Walmart 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.” However, the company still “strongly disputes the allegations…This settlement framework does not include any admission of liability.”
Following the announcement about the proposed addiction crisis litigation deal, several state attorneys general responded.
“The Walmart settlement provides the fastest and most truncated stream of abatement fees to communities of any of the pharmacy settlements,” said Paul Geller, an attorney for the local governments involved in the litigation, “which is particularly noteworthy considering that Walmart’s opioid dispensing was less than the other large pharmacy chains in both number and strength of pills.”
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein responded, “This deal with Walmart adds to the important progress we’ve already achieved through our settlements with the opioid manufacturers and distributors. And we’re not done yet.”
“Although Walmart filled significantly fewer prescriptions for opioids then CVS or Walgreens, since 2018 Walmart has been the most proactive in trying to monitor and control prescription opioid diversion attempted through its pharmacies,” Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson said.
“Companies like Walmart need to step up and help by ensuring Pennsylvanians get the treatment and recovery resources they need,” added Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “This deal with Walmart adds to the important progress we’ve already achieved through our settlements with the opioid manufacturers and distributors – and we’re not done yet.”
The addiction crisis litigation has included numerous defendants over the last several years, including drugmakers, distributors, executives, consultants, physicians, and pharmacies, to name a few. And despite pursuing funds in these lawsuits, the crisis continues to plague the U.S.
Fentanyl, the powerful synthetic opioid up to 1000 stronger than morphine, along with other lab-generated synthetic opioids, have been at the center of the epidemic as of late. Last year, overdoses from all drugs claimed more than 100,000 lives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the fatalities thus far in 2022 have remained around the same level. The government tallied more overdose deaths in 2021 than it did in the two-decade span ranging from 1979 through 1998, data shows, indicating the fentanyl problem isn’t going away anytime soon.
As far as other effective solutions, the U.S. is a long way off from eliminating the crisis and reducing fatalities. As long as fentanyl is cheap to manufacture, dealers are going to add it to other concoctions to minimize overhead. They aren’t going to care about the end result so long as they have money in their pockets.