California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced on Tuesday that he and thirteen other state attorney generals have reached a $3.1 billion settlement with Walmart over its role fuelling the opioid epidemic through its pharmacies. The agreement further requires the creation of a Controlled Substance Compliance Director to oversee pharmacies to prevent the filling of fraudulent prescriptions and to flag suspicious ones.
This settlement marks the latest in governmental efforts to punish those responsible for the ongoing opioid epidemic. This settlement fund will be divided up among all fifty states, with the money specifically earmarked to provide treatment and recovery services to people struggling with opioid use disorder.
The attorneys general of California, North Carolina, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Texas negotiated with Walmart for this agreement, and now it will go to the rest of the states for approval; 43 must approve by the end of the year.
“This is another step forward in our fight to hold all those who profited from the opioid epidemic accountable for the devastation they caused in California and beyond,” said Attorney General Bonta in a statement. “Too many lives and futures have been lost to this crisis. It’s time to heal our communities. The California Department of Justice will continue to fight to support all those harmed by this public health crisis.”
Similar negotiations are underway with Walgreens and CVS for their participation in the public health crisis. To date, the DOJ has secured approximately $30 billion from nationwide settlements with opioid manufacturers Johnson & Johnson, Mallinckrodt, and Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family, and distributors Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen, and the consulting firm McKinsey & Company.