Virginia Expects $60 Million in Tentative Opioid Crisis Settlement with Walmart

Virginia is expected to receive $60 million as part of a tentative $3.1 billion settlement agreement with Walmart after allegations of insufficient oversight of opioid dispensing at the chain’s pharmacies.

Companies who facilitated the dispensing of opioids contributed to the opioid epidemic that has devastated millions of lives. This significant settlement will help us fight back against the epidemic and provide abatement and rehabilitation resources to suffering Virginians,” Attorney General Jason Miyares said in a press release.

In its own release, Walmart said it believes the settlement is “in the best interest of all parties” and will help communities fight back the opioid crisis, but pushed back against the allegations.

“Walmart is proud of our pharmacists and our efforts to help fight the opioid crisis. Walmart strongly disputes the allegations in these matters, and this settlement framework does not include any admission of liability. Walmart will continue to vigorously defend the company against any lawsuit not resolved through this settlement framework,” the company said.

Opioid manufacturers and distributors have been targets of most of the blame and legal attention for the opioid epidemic, with Virginia expected to get about $530 million from settlements with Johnson & Johnson, Cardinal Health, McKesson, and Amerisource Bergen.

At the beginning of November, CVS and Walgreens announced separate tentative national settlement agreements of nearly $5 billion each. OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma is undergoing bankruptcy proceedings with a potential $6 billion payout as part of the deal, but some victims are pushing back seeking ongoing compensation under a federal act requiring coverage of medical bills, reported at the beginning of November.

The Walmart settlement includes requirements like protecting pharmacy employees from pressure to meet sales targets of controlled substances, a committee to oversee controlled substance compliance, mandatory training, and sending the states an Annual Red Flag Report on incidents when patients seek to fill controlled substance prescriptions under questionable circumstances. Additionally, Walmart would be required to review prescribers and refer them for investigation under certain circumstances.

“The parties are optimistic that the settlement will gain support of the required 43 states by the end of 2022, allowing local governments to join the deal during the first quarter of 2023. Further details about how the money will be distributed will be forthcoming,” Miyares’ release states.

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network.  Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Jason Miyares” by Jason Miyares. Background Photo “Walmart” by Random Retail. CC BY 2.0.


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