Summary and Response to CVS and Walgreens Settling Opioid Lawsuits

Posted by Mario Stampone.

The business law article that I have chosen to summarize and respond to is from The Wall Street Journal and is titled “CVS, Walgreens to Pay More Than $10 Billion to Settle Opioid Lawsuits.” The article explains that CVS Health Corporation and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. agreed to pay over $10 billion in a settlement. The settlement was needed to resolve lawsuits based on the opioid crisis, and the lawsuits were brought by states, cities, tribes, and other governments. According to the article, CVS and Walgreens, the two largest drugstore chains, “said they reached a framework to settle the collection of lawsuits brought by governments and Native American tribes blaming pharmacies for helping fuel the nation’s opioid epidemic” (Terlep). Under this deal, it has been said that “CVS would pay $4.9 billion to states and municipalities and $130 million to tribes over the next 10 years starting in 2023” (Terlep). In response to this settlement, CVS has stated that the settlement was not an admission of guilt. They have declared that they would continue to defend themselves against any litigation that was not resolved in the settlement.

Moreover, the article explains that Walgreens has offered to pay up to $4.79 billion over the next 15 years to states. They agreed to pay around $155 million to tribes. Walgreens is also expecting to pay about $753.5 million in attorney fees over six more years. Just as CVS did, Walgreens explained that the settlement was not an admission of guilt. Just because the settlements were agreed upon by CVS and Walgreens does not mean everything is over. The states, local governments, and tribes must still agree to participate. Their attorneys are encouraging them to join the settlement. If the settlement is agreed upon by both parties, the article says that “cities and counties have said they would use the money to bolster social services focused on the harms of opioid addiction as well as for funds for first responders” (Terlep). The money will not be directly distributed to families or individuals. CVS Chief Executive Karen Lynch has said that she supports the settlement, and she believes that states would join because attorney generals were part of the negotiations. Furthermore, the article goes on to say that the opioid crisis has taken over half a million lives and triggered over 3,000 lawsuits. Many of these lawsuits say that pharmacies did not do enough to stop the opioid crisis. Drugstores say they followed all regulations.

Back in August, a federal judge in Ohio “ordered CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart Inc. to pay $650 million over 15 years to two Ohio counties after a jury found the companies liable for contributing to the opioid epidemic” (Terlep). This case was closely watched, and it was the first decision in opioid lawsuits targeting pharmacies. CVS and Walgreens have paid various other settlements in the past few months, as CVS paid $484 million to the state of Florida for opioid-related claims. Additionally, the article highlights other lawsuits from pharmaceutical companies. Another example is Johnson and Johnson agreeing to a $5 billion settlement. J&J also said the lawsuit was not an admission of guilt. Moreover, CVS explained that spreading out the payments in the settlement will help the company reinvest in itself as it pays the settlement. CVS has been trying to expand itself from being only a pharmaceutical chain. They also want to be a medical provider.

All in all, I found this article to be very interesting. We have all heard of the opioid crisis, and we know the grave effects that it brought to so many citizens in America. I feel that it is good that some justice is being handed out, as the pharmaceutical companies that are partially responsible for the opioid crisis must now pay their fair share. Something that caught my attention from this article is that CVS and Walgreens, as well as other companies that have paid lawsuits in the past, such as Johnson and Johnson, all claimed that their settlements were “not an admission of guilt.” In my opinion, this is very disrespectful to say. The opioid crisis ruined the lives of so many people, and I feel that it is sickening that these big companies would just try to save their reputation by saying the settlements were not an admission of guilt. It makes it feel like these companies only settled to protect their reputation and move past the lawsuits, which is probably exactly what happened. Overall, I feel that this article has helped to reinforce my beliefs that these big companies do not care about doing right by the people. They just want to make a profit and protect their reputation so they can continue to make money. To conclude, I enjoyed reading, summarizing and analyzing this article, and I am glad that the pharmaceutical companies that were responsible for aiding the opioid crisis are facing some justice.

Mario is a finance and sports management major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2025.

Works Cited

Press, Phil Velasquez/Chicago Tribune/TNS/Zuma. “CVS, Walgreens to Pay More than $10 Billion to Settle Opioid Lawsuits.” The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones & Company, 2 Nov. 2022,

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