By Matthew Young, RealWV
CHARLESTON, W,Va. – W.Va. Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, at a press conference on Wednesday, announced his office has agreed to an $83 million settlement with Walgreens Pharmacy, resolving a lawsuit which accused the pharmacy chain of contributing to the state’s excessive supply of prescription opioids. Under the terms of the settlement, Walgreens has agreed to pay the $83 million over an eight-year period.
“This is another terrific development in opioid litigation for the State of West Virginia,” Morrisey said. “We can see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
According to Morrisey, Kroger now stands as the final retail pharmacy involved in opioid litigation with West Virginia. Thus far, Kroger has been unwilling to settle the lawsuit, and a trial date has been scheduled for this upcoming June.
“Four down, one to go,” Morrisey said.
“The allegations we have made against Kroger are quite serious,” Morrisey noted. “Kroger is now the only entity to not settle with the State of West Virginia. We’ve alleged that they’ve failed to report any suspicious orders to the DEA and the W.Va. Board of Pharmacy.”
“We’re alleging that Kroger effectively had no suspicious order monitoring policy for a significant amount of the time period,” Morrisey added. “We’re going to pursue this. I’m asking Kroger to come forward – in a very serious manner – and address some of these issues.”
In addition to Walgreens, lawsuits have now been settled with Walmart, Rite Aid, and CVS Pharmacy, for $65, $30, and $82.5 million respectively. Opioid manufacturers McKinsey, Endo, Johnson & Johnson, Teva, and Allergan have also settled suits with West Virginia for nearly $300 million. While Purdue Pharma and Mallinckrodt also have pending litigation with the state, both organizations have filed for bankruptcy protection. The $83 million Walgreens settlement brings the state’s opioid litigation settlement total to nearly $1 billion.
As agreed upon by all 55 counties in 2022, all settlement funds recovered as the result of opioid litigation will be disbursed according to the terms outlined in the West Virginia First Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).