Walgreens has agreed to pay Florida $683 million to settle a lawsuit alleging the pharmacy chain helped fuel the opioid crisis in the state. Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody announced the agreement Thursday, which requires Walgreens to pay $620 million to the state over a period of 18-years and 63 million for legal fees.
Walgreens dished out billions of opioid dosages in Florida since 2006, but the company admitted no wrongdoing as part of the settlement. Moody called the agreement historic for Florida, those struggling against addiction and communities across the US suffering from the opioid crisis.
“The funds will go to communities hit hardest by opioid abuse, and they will be spent on treatment and prevention,” stated the Attorney General. “The funds will undoubtedly save the lives of Floridians. What we have accomplished is no small feat. In fact, Florida continues to lead the nation in legal efforts to hold defendants accountable for their unique roles in this public health crisis.”
Moody also said the state has now recovered more than $3 billion in opioid litigation against drugmakers, distributors and pharmacies. In addition to Walgreens, Florida has reached settlements with CVS, Teva Pharmaceutical, AbbVie, and Endo International, among others.
Despite the state’s efforts, Moody emphasized there’s still much work to be done as the Florida loses an estimated 21 lives a day to opioid abuse. Florida is now the first state to reach agreements regarding the crisis with both Walgreen’s and CVS.
“With these funds Florida goes on offense to stop addiction and save lives,” Moody continued. “We now go into battle armed and ready to fight back hard against this manmade crisis. And we do it in unison with the more than 200 cities and counties that have stepped up to support and benefit from our litigation efforts.”
More than 3,300 lawsuits have been filed against drugmakers, distributors and pharmacies over the crisis, which the CDC reports has led to more than 500,000 overdose deaths in the last two decades.