Marysville Appeal-Democrat

Valgreens agrees •o pay elorida $6W3 million •o se••le opioid lawsui•

- Tribune News Service Orlando Sentinel

Walgreens has agreed to pay the state of Florida $683 million to settle a lawsuit claiming the drugstore chain helped fuel the state’s opioid crisis, the company announced Thursday.

The settlement includes $620 million to be paid over 18 years and a onetime payment of $63 million for attorneys’ fees. Walgreens admitted no wrongdoing or liability, a company news release said.

“As the largest pharmacy chain in the state, we remain focused on and committed to being part of the solution and believe this resolution is in the best interest of all parties involved,” said Danielle Gray, executive vice president and global chief legal officer for Walgreens Boots Alliance, the chain’s parent company. “Our pharmacist­s are dedicated healthcare profession­als who live and work in the communitie­s they serve, and play a critical role in providing education and resources to help combat opioid misuse and abuse.”

In court filings, the state claimed a Walgreens drug distributi­on center sold 2.2 million tablets to a single Walgreens pharmacy in tiny Hudson

— enough for a roughly six-month supply for each of the town’s 12,000 residents. In some cases, the Florida Attorney General’s Office said, Walgreens increased orders up to 600% in just two years, including, for example, supplying a town of 3,000 with 285,800 orders of oxycodone in one month.

The settlement ends a case that went to trial April 11 in New Port Richey. Walgreens opted not to join a combined $878 million settlement with four other health care companies, including CVS.

At the time, Florida

Attorney General

Ashley Moody said, “I am encouraged that all the other defendants in our historic opioid litigation stepped up, and we recovered more than $3 billion to help Florida address the devastatio­n caused by the opioid epidemic. It’s time for Walgreens to face accountabi­lity for their part.”

Walgreens said it has already made the overdose-reversal medication Naloxone available in all Walgreens pharmacies.

The settlement funds will be used by the state for efforts to combat and treat opioid addiction.

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