West Virginia reaches opioid settlements with Walmart and CVS totaling more than $147 million



CNN

The state of West Virginia has reached more than $147 million in settlements with Walmart and CVS to settle opioid lawsuits, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said at a news conference Tuesday.

CVS agreed to a settlement of more than $82.5 million and Walmart agreed to pay more than $65 million to settle civil complaints “that alleged pharmacies failed to maintain effective controls as distributors against diversions that contributed to the oversupply of opioids in the state.” ” the attorney general said in a news release.

CVS said that while it is no longer a defendant in the West Virginia lawsuit, it will continue to defend against other opioid claims.

“Putting these claims (in West Virginia) behind us is in the best interest of all parties,” CVS said. “It continues our position that opioid prescriptions are written by doctors, not pharmacists, and that opioid medications are made and marketed by manufacturers, not pharmacies.”

CNN reached out to Walmart, but has not heard back.

Synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, were involved in more than two-thirds of overdose deaths in the year ending March 2022. Deaths from synthetic opioids increased by a staggering 80% in the past two years, CDC data shows.

“I’ve been very clear for a long time, there’s been a very conscious strategy to make sure that West Virginia is number one in the nation, that we can solve these terrible problems that have been plaguing our state for a long time,” said Morrisey, a Republican.

West Virginia previously agreed to a $30 million settlement with Rite Aid.

The Attorney General said that the money from the agreements will be directed to the people who need it the most.

About $874 million has been obtained so far from opioid settlements, money that will be distributed under the West Virginia Memorandum of Understanding, an agreement between the attorney general’s office and counties and municipalities.

“While we can’t make up for all the loss of life and all the pain and lost generations, we can make sure there is accountability for the many companies that played a role in this process,” Morrisey said.

Walmart and CVS were still part of the lawsuit involving Walgreens and Kroger. A trial is scheduled to begin in June.