Wisconsin Attorney General: Agreements with CVS and Walgreens Over Opioid Crisis Finalized

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul (D) announced Thursday that he and numerous other states finalized an agreement whereby the CVS and Walgreens pharmacy companies will pay $10.7 billion to those jurisdictions over opioid-epidemic concerns. 

The deal comes as a result of litigation by prosecutors across the nation alleging that the corporations failed to ensure that their pharmacies properly dispense painkillers, resulting in illegal trafficking and use of the drugs that have contributed to a widespread deadly addiction. 

“The hundreds of millions of dollars coming to Wisconsin through agreements like these will have a major impact on efforts to curb substance-use disorder in communities across the state,” Kaul said in a statement. “Fighting the opioid epidemic is a top priority at the Wisconsin Department of Justice.”

CVS will pay $5 billion of the determined amount and Walgreens will provide $5.7 billion. Wisconsin expects its share of those funds to total over $173 million for opioid addiction prevention and treatment programs. Payments will be spread out over the next 15 years. 

The companies have also agreed to implement stronger monitoring and reporting procedures to prevent the future undue distribution of prescribed painkillers. 

“As one of the largest pharmacy chains in the nation, we remain committed to being a part of the solution, and this settlement framework will allow us to keep our focus on the health and wellbeing of our customers and patients, while making positive contributions to address the opioid crisis,” Walgreens said in its initial statement on the deal. “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.”

Opioid overdose deaths have risen sharply across America over the last two decades. The Badger state has seen its share of that rise, with annual fatalities increasing more than tenfold since 2000, leading to 1,226 deaths in 2020.

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Bradley Vasoli is managing editor of The Wisconsin Daily Star. Follow Brad on Twitter at @BVasoli. Email tips to [email protected].



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