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Walmart offers to pay US$3.1 billion to settle opioid lawsuits

Walmart offers to pay US$3.1 billion to settle opioid lawsuits

Posted  41 Views updated 20 days ago

Walmart proposed a US$3.1 billion legal settlement on Tuesday over the toll of powerful prescription opioids sold at its pharmacies, becoming the latest major drug industry player to promise major support to state, local and tribal governments still grappling with a crisis in overdose deaths.

The retail giant's announcement follows similar proposals on November 2 from the two largest US pharmacy chains, CVS Health and Walgreen Co, which each said they would pay about US$5 billion.

Most of the drugmakers that produced the most opioids and the biggest drug distribution companies have already reached settlements. With the largest pharmacies now settling, it represents a shift in the opioid litigation saga.

For years, the question was whether companies would be held accountable for an overdose crisis that a flood of prescription drugs helped spark.

With the crisis still raging, the focus now is on how the settlement dollars, now totalling more than US$50 billion, will be used and whether they will help curtail record numbers of overdose deaths, even as prescription drugs have become a relatively small portion of the epidemic.

Walmart proposed a US$3.1 billion legal settlement on Tuesday over the toll of powerful prescription opioids sold at its pharmacies, becoming the latest major drug industry player to promise major support to state, local and tribal governments still grappling with a crisis in overdose deaths.

The retail giant's announcement follows similar proposals on November 2 from the two largest US pharmacy chains, CVS Health and Walgreen Co, which each said they would pay about US$5 billion.

Most of the drugmakers that produced the most opioids and the biggest drug distribution companies have already reached settlements. With the largest pharmacies now settling, it represents a shift in the opioid litigation saga.

For years, the question was whether companies would be held accountable for an overdose crisis that a flood of prescription drugs helped spark.

With the crisis still raging, the focus now is on how the settlement dollars, now totalling more than US$50 billion, will be used and whether they will help curtail record numbers of overdose deaths, even as prescription drugs have become a relatively small portion of the epidemic.

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