May 5, 2022 - Health

Walgreens reaches $683 million opioid settlement with Florida

A Walgreens pharmacy in Florida.

A Walgreens pharmacy. Photo: Joe Raedle, Getty Images

The Walgreens pharmacy chain reached a $683 million settlement with the state of Florida in a lawsuit that accused the company of improperly dispensing millions of opioid pills, AP reports.

The details: Under the settlement, Walgreens will pay $620 million to Florida over 18 years and a one-time sum of $63 million for attorney fees, per AP.

Yes, but: The settlement does not include any "admission of wrongdoing or liability by Walgreens," the company said Thursday in a statement.

What they're saying: “We now go into battle armed and ready to fight back hard against this manmade crisis,” State Attorney General Ashley Moody said at a news conference in Tampa, per AP.

  • “I am glad that we have been able to end this monumental litigation and move past the courtroom," she added.

The other side: “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 and the communities we serve across Florida,” said Danielle Gray, executive vice president and global chief legal officer, Walgreens Boots Alliance, in a statement.

  • “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.”

The big picture: Florida decided to sue Walgreens arguing the pharmacy chain was partly responsible for creating opioid addictions, which lawyers said cost Florida millions in taxpayer dollars, per WTSP.

  • Walgreens was accused of dispensing more than 4.3 billion opioid pills in Florida from May 2006 to June 2021, per AP.
  • Lawyers for Florida said Walgreens dispensed opioids as if the drugs were Tylenol and profited from the distribution.

Worth noting: Florida is the first state to settle lawsuits against both major pharmacy chains Walgreens and CVS Health, receiving more than $1.1 billion in settlements, Reuters reports.

Go deeper:

Opioid settlements could lead to naloxone shortages

Opioid trafficking is national security emergency

Substance abuse contributing to the worker shortage

Go deeper