CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced two settlements have been reached between Walmart, CVS and the state amounting to more than $147 million to resolve lawsuits that alleged the pharmacies failed to maintain effective controls as a distributor and dispenser against diversion that contributed to oversupply of opioids in the state.
“These settlements won’t bring back the lives lost from the opioid epidemic, but these and other settlements will hopefully provide significant help to those affected the most by this crisis in our state,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “This development also avoided a costly and lengthy trial and at the end of the day, West Virginia will have the highest per capita settlement results in the nation fighting for our people.”
Walmart agreed to a settlement of $65,070,000; CVS for $82.5 million. The CVS deal comes with a 2.25% Most Favored Nation protection—a guarantee that West Virginia won’t be prejudiced by a future national settlement.
The two companies are part of a larger trial involving other major pharmacies. Litigation against the remaining pharmacy defendants—Walgreens and Kroger—continues before the Mass Litigation Panel with a trial date on June 5, 2023.
Recently, the Attorney General announced a settlement with Rite Aid for up to $30 million to resolve similar litigation.
The money from all opioid settlements will be distributed under the terms of the West Virginia First Memorandum of Understanding. Announced in mid-February, the MOU is an agreement with the state on how future settlement dollars would be used to abate the opioid crisis throughout the state. It contains a comprehensive plan to use those funds to abate the massive problems caused by the flood of opioids into West Virginia.
The lawsuits allege the pharmacies’ contribution to the oversupply of prescription opioids in the state have caused “significant losses through their past and ongoing medical treatment costs, including for minors born addicted to opioids, rehabilitation costs, naloxone costs, medical examiner expenses, self-funded state insurance costs and other forms of losses to address opioid-related afflictions and loss of lives.”