CVS, Walmart, and Walgreens Settle on a Billion-dollar Settlement Over America’s Opioid Crisis

Posted by Natalie Hamblin.

America has been faced with an opioid crisis, leading to death, addictions, and overdoses. Three major retailers; CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart have all concluded on a settlement rounding out to $13.8 billion regarding their involvement with the opioid crisis. The three retailers have been dealing with lawsuits from state and local governments for years, accumulating over three thousand since 2017. CVS, Walmart, and Walgreens will have years to pay off this settlement.
If the retailers do settle on this, this would be the highest recorded opioid settlement with a retail pharmacy company. Most of the lawsuits accused the companies of downplaying the risks of opioids and not carefully watching for signs of patients trafficking their prescriptions. The three retailers in this settlement are the largest retail pharmacies in the United States. There have been settlements with smaller retailers, such as Johnson and Johnson, with smaller amounts of lawsuits and money settlements.
These retail pharmacies are at fault because they distributed the opioids without sharing knowledge of the side effects and strong addiction factors. Starting in the 1990s, pharmacies were promoting opioids as a safe and healthy way to treat one’s pain. Failing to mention that although it might help the pain, one can easily get addicted to the substance. During the COVID-19 pandemic, opioid dependence rapidly grew as an issue, increasing the overdoses caused by opioids. The opioid crisis is also a pressing issue in the economy. Since 2020 (Covid-19 pandemic) the opioid crisis has cost the economy $1.5 trillion within just two years. The hope is that this settlement will increase the retail pharmacies’ involvement in stopping the opioid crisis.

Natalie is a marketing major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2025.