US pharmacies ordered to pay $650.6m for function in opioids disaster


The US pharmacy chains CVS, Walmart and Walgreens should pay a mixed $650.6m to 2 Ohio counties to deal with the harm completed by the opioid epidemic, a federal decide dominated on Wednesday.

The order by US decide Dan Polster in Cleveland comes after a jury final November concluded that the companies helped create a public nuisance in Lake and Trumbull counties by oversupplying addictive ache drugs, a lot of which discovered their means on to the black market. The businesses have stated they might attraction that verdict.

Polster held a separate non-jury trial earlier this 12 months to resolve how a lot the businesses needed to pay.

“We’re disillusioned with this end result,” a Walgreens spokesman, Fraser Engleman, stated in an announcement. “The info and the legislation didn’t assist the jury verdict final fall, and they don’t assist the court docket’s resolution now.“

CVS and Walmart didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.

Polster stated the sum have to be paid over 15 years, with the quantity for the primary two years, or $86.7m, to be paid right into a fund instantly. The decide additionally ordered the businesses to implement new procedures to fight unlawful diversion of opioid medicine.

The US opioid epidemic has brought on greater than 500,000 overdose deaths over 20 years, in response to authorities knowledge. Greater than 3,300 opioid lawsuits have been filed nationally towards drugmakers, distributors and pharmacy chains.

The litigation has resulted in a number of nationwide settlements, together with a $26bn cope with Johnson & Johnson and the three main distributors, a $2.37bn settlement with AbbVie Inc and a $4.25bn settlement with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.

Pharmacies have but to succeed in a nationwide settlement.

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