The Walgreens pharmacy company has reached a $683 million settlement with the state of Florida, halting a trial over state claims that the company improperly dispensed millions of painkillers that contributed to the opioid crisis, state and company officials said Thursday.
State Attorney General Ashley Moody said the deal was struck after government evidence was presented at trial in Florida. Walgreens was the 12th and final defendant to settle with Florida, which will bring in more than $3 billion for the state to tackle opioid addiction and overdoses, according to the Associated Press and Florida news reports.
“We now go into battle armed and ready to fight back hard against this manmade crisis,” Moody said at a news conference in Tampa. “I am glad that we have been able to end this monumental litigation and move past the courtroom.”
Walgreens, based in Deerfield, Illinois, said in a statement the company did not admit wrongdoing in the deal, during which $620 million will be paid to the state over 18 years and a one-time sum of $63 million for attorney fees. Walgreens operates more than 9,000 stores in all 50 states, according to the company website. About 820 of those locations are in Florida.
“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,” Danielle Gray, executive vice president and global chief legal officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance, said 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 company said the settlement funds will be used by the State of Florida to support efforts to combat and treat opioid addiction.
Prior to the Walgreens trial, Florida had reached a $65 million settlement with Endo and $860 million in agreements with CVS, Teva and Allergan. CVS agreed to pay the state $484 million.
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