Home » Walmart Offers Up $3.1 Billion in Opioid Lawsuits Settlements

Walmart Offers Up $3.1 Billion in Opioid Lawsuits Settlements

Walmart
Courtesy of Mike Mozart (Flickr CC0)

Walmart has offered to pay out $3.1 billion to settle opioid lawsuits from multiple state and local governments. State, local, and tribal governments are still grappling with a crisis in overdose deaths.

The world’s biggest retailer said it’s offering to settle a number of lawsuits from states, counties, and cities. To blame the company for helping fuel the opioid crisis by selling millions of doses of prescription painkillers. Walmart will pay $3.1 billion over 10 years to address the opioid epidemic.

The settlement is one of several drug manufacturers facing increasing scrutiny. As a result of their role in fueling an overdose crisis that killed more than 70,000 Americans last year alone. The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday named six companies including CVS and Cardinal Health.

As a result, it contributed to the drug epidemic by failing to report suspiciously large purchases of prescription painkillers, among other abuses. The companies are accused of making an estimated $5 billion from their role. As a result, it flooded communities like Dayton, Ohio with cheap pills at a time when the body count was mounting by 12 people every day for two years straight (2013-2015). Since 2018 Walmart has been the most driven in trying to monitor and control prescription opioid diversions.

The majority of the drug makers that produced the most opioids and the biggest drug distribution companies have already reached settlements. With the crisis still raging, the focus now is on how the settlement dollars now total more than $50 billion. They are trying to see whether it will help curtail record numbers of overdose deaths, even though it’s a relatively small portion of the epidemic.

Walmart Takes Quick Action

Walmart
Courtesy of The Javorac (Flickr CC0)

Some government lawyers suggested Walmart has acted more responsibly than other pharmacies when it came to opioids. Although Walmart filled significantly fewer prescriptions for opioids than CVS or Walgreens. Walmart’s plan would have to be approved by 43 states by December, 15. Also, local governments could sign on by March 31, 2023.

Opioids of all kinds linked to more than 500,000 deaths in the U.S. over the past two decades.

Each state’s allocation depends partly on how many local governments agree. The share of Walmart’s proposed settlement going to Native American tribes is $78 million. As a result, it is divided among all the federally recognized tribes. After governments used funds from tobacco settlements in the 1990s for purposes unrelated to public health.

In the 2000s, most fatal opioid overdoses involved prescription drugs such as OxyContin and generic oxycodone. After governments, doctors and companies took steps to make them harder to obtain. As a result, people addicted to the drugs increasingly turned to heroin, which proved more deadly.

In recent years, opioid deaths have soared to record levels, around 80,000 a year. Most of those deaths involve illicitly produced versions of the powerful lab-made drug fentanyl. As a result, it is appearing throughout the U.S. supply of illegal drugs.

Written by Armon Evans

Sources:

CTV News: Walmart offers to pay US $3.1 billion to settle opioid lawsuits

NPR: Walmart offers to pay $3.1 billion to settle opioid lawsuits

US News: Walmart Offers to Pay $3.1 Billion to Settle Opioid Lawsuits

Top and featured image courtesy of Mike Mozart‘s Flickr page – Creative Commons License

Inset image courtesy of The Javorac‘s Flickr page – Creative Commons License

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