Federal judge: Opioid settlements are the smart financial choice for retail pharmacies

If CVS, Walgreens, Walmart and Rite Aid don't settle the thousands of government lawsuits filed against them in connection with their role in the opioid epidemic, they could face an overwhelming and expensive wave of opioid trials over the next few years, Bloomberg reported April 7.

The retail pharmacy giants said they hired a private mediator to negotiate with plaintiffs’ lawyers but failed to reach out-of-court resolution, according to Bloomberg. The first trials are set to begin in 2021.

U.S. District Judge Dan Polster, who is overseeing all the opioid cases brought against the retail pharmacy chains, said during a March 10 hearing that if the companies "want to hemorrhage money trying cases all over the country, they have a legal right to do it until they drop, go bankrupt or win them all." He noted that no other defendant is taking that route.

The retail pharmacy giants' opioid-related legal woes come as many drugmakers are paying massive settlements to resolve lawsuits filed against them for their role in the opioid epidemic, such as the collective $26.3 billion settlement to be paid by Johnson & Johnson, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson and the $573 million deal McKinsey, which advised drugmakers on their opioid marketing, reached with states.

Mr. Polster said that the courts and pharmaceutical industry are aware of the amount drugmakers are paying to settle opioid cases, calling those amounts "the benchmark."

More articles on opioids:
Biden releases first-year drug policy plan
McKinsey to pay Nevada $45M for role in opioid epidemic
Bill would prevent Sackler family from evading opioid lawsuits via bankruptcy

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