Landmark Opioid Settlements

Posted by Kyle Ganning.

Both CVS and Walgreens agreed to pay more than $10 billion in settlements involving opioids and the distribution of opioids. This was originally brought by state and local governments. In addition, according to, Walmart will add to the settlements with $3 billion as well. Being that both CVS and Walgreens are two of the largest drugstore chains in the World, these are landmark settlements that could resolve a lot of opioid-crisis. Even though the company agreed to a settlement, the companies will not be required to publicly admit wrongdoing. Walgreens has already come out and said that this settlement “wasn’t an admission of wrongdoing.” We have seen a plethora of cases over the last couple of years, and Like Walgreens, CVS, and Walmart being ordered by a federal judge to pay $650 million to two Ohio counties.

In the eyes everyone involved, a settlement seemed like the best option for these corporations. A key part of the settlement agreement is the fact that these companies do not have to publicly admit wrongdoing or admitting what they did was not acceptable. The settlements are to be paid over the next 10-15 years. “CVS said if the settlement is reached, it would pay the states nearly $5 billion over 10 years beginning in 2023. Walgreens said it would also pay $5 billion in remediation payments over the course of 15 years.” (CNN)

With these settlements being spread out, it allows for the companies’ stocks to stay strong as they would not be taking the massive hit all at once. This is also a major reason why the case was settled, if it went to court then there is a good chance, they might have had to pay a higher sum of money upfront to these cities or states. Additionally, some Native American tribes are also making about $155 million. These settlements could be considered an “admission of guilt” by some, or they could be just playing it safe. In addition Walgreens and CVS “also expects to pay up to $753.5 million in attorneys fees over six years.”

The opioid-crisis has killed more than 500,000 people over the last two decades. The opioid-crisis is currently one of the biggest drug problems in the United States. The thought behind this lawsuit is to hold these large drugstore chains to be held accountable for mishandling prescriptions opioids. These settlements could also show how opioids are handled and used in the future years ahead. It will also be interesting to see how many more lawsuits can come up against corporations that are selling opioids. We could see the numbers on the settlement get even higher over the next couple of years.

Kyle is a student in the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University.

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