United States: Walgreens Reaches $683 Million Opioid Settlement With Florida | Drug News

Pharmacy chains have increasingly been targeted for allegedly lax oversight states that have spurred high addiction rates.

Walgreens Boots Alliance, which owns a chain of retail pharmacies, has reached a $683 million settlement with Florida to resolve allegations that it exacerbated an opioid epidemic in the state.

The settlement ends a lawsuit that began last month, after Walgreens opted out of a combined $878 million in-state settlement with four other healthcare companies.

To date, Florida has recovered more than $3 billion in opioid lawsuits against drugmakers, distributors and pharmacies, according to Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody.

He will spend most of the money on efforts to alleviate the opioid crisis in the state.

“I’m glad we were able to end this monumental litigation and move beyond the courtroom,” Moody said at a press conference Thursday.

The most recent settlement includes $620 million to be paid to Florida over 18 years, plus $63 million for legal fees.

Walgreens did not admit wrongdoing under the settlement, which stems from allegations that the company downplayed the risks of addiction and overdoses, and was lax in monitoring where the pills resulted.

The case hinged on accusations that Walgreens dispensed more than 4.3 billion opioid pills in Florida from May 2006 to June 2021, more than half of the prescriptions contained one or more easily recognizable red flags for abuse , fraud and addiction that the company should have noticed. and act accordingly.

Before settling, Walgreens had argued that it should be safe from lawsuits based on a $3,000 settlement reached with Florida in 2012.

Florida had called Walgreens’ position “absurd,” according to court transcripts, saying the 2012 settlement only addressed a single record-keeping violation.

CVS Health Corp previously agreed to settle with Florida for $484 million, while Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, the Allergan unit of Abbvie Inc and Endo International Plc agreed to pay $194.8 million respectively, 134, $2 million and $65 million.

All denied wrongdoing.

The national opioid crisis has resulted in more than 500,000 overdose deaths over the past two decades, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More than 3,300 lawsuits have been filed against those responsible for the crisis.

While many drug manufacturers and distributors initially targeted, states have also increasingly targeted pharmacies.

In November last year, a jury in a federal trial in Ohio found Walmart, CVS Health Corp and Walgreens Boots Alliance guilty of causing the crisis by failing to properly monitor opioid prescriptions.

Washington state on Tuesday reached a $518 million settlement with opioid distributors McKesson Corp, AmerisourceBergen Corp and Cardinal Health, ending a months-long lawsuit over the companies’ alleged role in the crisis. opioids.

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