CVS Health, Walgreens each to settle all opioid cases for $5B

For $5 billion, CVS Health will settle all lawsuits — some that have lasted more than a decade — accusing the retail pharmacy chain of fueling the opioid epidemic. Walgreens also plans to settle its lawsuits for $4.95 billion over the next 15 years. 

Beginning in 2023, CVS said it would start paying governmental agencies that agree to the settlement terms, according to a Nov. 2 news release. The chain said $4.9 billion will go to states and political subdivisions, and about $130 million is slated for tribal cases, to be paid out over 10 years. 

"We are pleased to resolve these longstanding claims and putting them behind us is in the best interest of all parties, as well as our customers, colleagues and shareholders," Thomas Moriarty, CVS Health's chief policy officer and general counsel, said in a statement. 

Both CVS and Walgreens denied wrongdoing. 

"We believe this is in the best interest of the company and our stakeholders at this time, and allows our pharmacists, dedicated healthcare professionals who live and work in the communities they serve, to continue playing a critical role in providing education and resources to help combat opioid misuse and abuse," Walgreens said in a Nov. 2 statement. 

Walmart may join the other two companies with its own opioid settlement fund of $3 billion, Bloomberg reported Nov. 1, citing people familiar with the matter.

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