CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit between the State of West Virginia and Walgreens.
According to West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, the $83 million settlement resolves a lawsuit alleging Walgreens did not “maintain effective controls” in their role as an opioid distributer and dispenser and allegedly contributed to the oversupply of opioids in the Mountain State.
The attorney general’s office says the memorandum of understanding in the lawsuit still needs to be ratified, however, Morrisey says Walgreens has agreed to pay the settlement within an eight-year period.
“We will continue to seek out justice for those affected the most by the opioid epidemic that hit our state the hardest,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “This and other settlements will not bring back the lives lost from the opioid menace, but our hope is that the money would provide significant help to those affected the most by this crisis in West Virginia.”
The lawsuit with Walgreens was part of a larger litigation that also involved Walmart, CVS, Rite Aid and Kroger. According to Morrisey’s office, the only lawsuit that has not been settled is the lawsuit against Kroger, which is set to go to trial in June 2023.
Memorandums of understanding have already been signed for the lawsuits settled against Rite Aid ($30 million), Walmart ($65 million), and CVS ($82.5 million).
The attorney general’s office says the lawsuits against these companies alleged they contributed to an oversupply of prescription opioids in West Virginia, causing “significant losses through their past and ongoing medical treatment costs, including for minors born addicted to opioids, rehabilitation costs, naloxone costs, medical examiner expenses, self-funded state insurance costs and other forms of losses to address opioid-related afflictions and loss of lives.”
Morrisey says the settlement money will be distributed under the West Virginia First Memorandum of Understanding terms, which is an agreement between state and local governments on how to use settlement funds to combat the opioid crisis.